Round up #235: Little Free Library, “Buy It Now” public library button

Round up #235: Little Free Library, “Buy It Now” public library button

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Bloomberg: “Amazon Will Probably Dominate Books-by-Subscription, Too”

In my annual post predicting the coming year in e-books

The Year Ahead: 2014

I said that I thought Amazon would do a subscription service for adults this year…a way to pay for e-books by the month or year, rather than paying for each e-book separately.

On January 12th, I wrote this one:

Could this kill e-book sales?

where I coined the term “subser” for “subscription service”, and went into the idea in more depth.

Well, three days later, BloombergBusinessweek ran this

article by Joshua Brustein

Thanks to the reader who sent me a heads-up for that article in a private e-mail! I don’t get to my e-mail very quickly, as opposed to comments made on this blog, but I’ll eventually get back to you on your other questions. 🙂 To answer one point, my subser post wasn’t inspired by Bloomberg’s…and, even though I was first, I’d be pretty sure theirs wasn’t inspired by mine. 😉

The article (which is worth reading) looks at the idea of subsers, and how we can expect Amazon to “Bigfoot it” and dominate there. That’s my guess as well…

Library “Buy It Now” button

Another reader sent me a private e-mail to alert me to this

GOOD E READER article by Michael Kozlowski

I suspect some of you will have a strong reaction to what is said in the story.

The basic idea is this:

Simon & Schuster is expanding a pilot program to fifteen public libraries that will allow patrons there to borrow the publishers’ e-books.

I’ve written about that issue in the past…that publishers don’t freely allow public libraries to loan their books, and even when they do, there may be significant restrictions.

Well, this deal comes with an interesting stipulation.

The libraries must have “Buy It Now” button on their websites.

You go to the library’s website to borrow a book, and where you would do that, there is also a choice to buy it.

Why would you buy it when you are about to borrow it for free?

It’s very common that popular e-books have long waiting lists at public libraries, for one thing. If you saw you were number twelve in line, and you figured the book is out for two weeks at a time, you’d have to wait about six weeks to get it.

I know some of you are wondering why you have to wait for an e-book: can’t the library just make a copy for you?

Nope: their licenses restrict how many people can have a copy at a time…and that restriction may be only one patron for each license you purchase (and that license can be many times more expensive than a regular customer would pay to get the book from Amazon).

What’s that sound I hear? Is it skin crawling? 😉 Yep…I do understand if some of you are not happy about commerce getting into the public library…which you may pay for with your property taxes or through a bond measure.

I don’t like it being a condition of having the books…if it was more voluntary, I’d understand.

This is happening, in part, through a program from Overdrive called

LibraryBIN (Buy It Now)

You can buy books through that website, and part of your purchase price goes to your public library…at least, it does if you got to the site from your library.

Public libraries are facing a lot of challenges, and I can understand looking at creative solutions. There isn’t anything here that forces the public to buy, and the only “advertising” is for the book itself.


Little Free Libraries

One thing that comes up sometimes is what to do with your p-books (paperbooks) when you have switched to e-books.

Well, the majority of people who read e-books also read p-books, from what I understand. I don’t…not for new books. I do go and consult my old p-books sometimes, and I haven’t parted with them. Many people want to do that, though, and that seems reasonable.

One thing you might be wanting to do is to share your books with someone who might not otherwise have them.

An interesting idea recently appeared near us, and there are reportedly more than 10,000 of them around.

It’s a little thing that sort of looks like a glass-fronted birdhouse (if you were trying to house an emperor penguin…it’s about a meter tall, I’d say).

There are books in there…and you can leave one or take one (we left one).

It’s part of an organization called

Little Free Library

They are working to get these Little Free Libraries all over the place.

I do think this is a great thing! You can donate to support it (it is tax-deductible) at the website I linked above.

You can also see a map there with locations…perhaps there is one in your neighborhood!

MYK changes still rolling out

I recently wrote about some

Major changes to MYK: bulk actions

That’s the Manage Your Kindle page from Amazon.

It’s weird: I’ve only seen it in Silk on my Kindle Fire, even though I’ve checked in another browser on that device, and three browsers on my desktop.

I’ve logged out and logged back in…that didn’t make it appear.

Amazon has indicated that, when a change like this occurs, it could take a week or so before pretty much everybody gets it. I think that’s because you are hitting different servers, and they may not update all the servers at once (it’s probably better policy not to do that, in case something goes wrong).

I’ve also heard that people are seeing different things, and that those things are changing, so this may certainly be a work in progress.

I’ll report back on it when it seems to be more stable and more available. 🙂

What do you think? Is it okay with you that there would be a “Buy It Now” button on your public library’s website? If you don’t like it, is it better to have that or not have the books from a major publisher? Have  you seen a Little Free Library? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Speaking of which: I really appreciate it when readers give me links to stories! The best way to do it is to comment on the blog: I review that most often. If you want your comment to be private (so I don’t post it publicly), please let me know at the beginning of your comment.

**Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle**

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

7 Responses to “Round up #235: Little Free Library, “Buy It Now” public library button”

  1. Joe Bowers Says:

    Hi, BC,
    Just for fun, I checked out the Little Free Library page for my state. Several of the locations gave GPS coordinates. What an amazing world we live in these days! Thanks again for all you do in informing and entertaining your readers, you give me a lot to think about, and that’s a good thing!

  2. EJC Says:

    i found out about the Little Free Libraries through another hobby. my husband and I are geocachers. in our area, many of the Little Free Libraries also have geocache logs inside. A local cacher contacts the caretakers of the libraries for permission. some of our local LLFs are very elaborate. They also tend to be very full. I would imagine that those that are not full would appreciate a few books, but this would not be a great way to gid rid of boxes of books.

  3. Edward Boyhan Says:

    One thought I had when reading about the “buy it now” button is that perhaps the library could get a cut for each book sold via “BIN”. That might help defray some library expenses? Of course it could also harden a few more jaws ( 😀 ). This doesn’t necessarily have to be in real money — perhaps something like: for every 5 books sold via “BIN”, the publisher gives the library another copy of the ebook?

    Not clear from your post: do libraries supporting “BIN” tell you where you are in the “borrow” waiting line? If I could see that I’m only at position 25, that might give me an incentive to push that “BIN” button (:grin)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Sorry if I didn’t emphasize that enough…I said

      “You can buy books through that website, and part of your purchase price goes to your public library…at least, it does if you got to the site from your library.”

      So, yes, it works like that now. I think for many people that might be worse, since it then incentivizes the library not to have the book available for you to borrow. If they have it (which is expensive for them), then you don’t buy it. If they don’t have it, and you do buy it, the library makes money on the lack of availability. I’m not suggesting that libraries would actually be motivated by that (I think the vast majority have honorably pure motives), but people might see it that way.

      My public library, which uses Overdrive, tells what place I am in line…whether they are using LibraryBIN or not. For example, the most popular fiction e-book title at my public library right now has 83 people with it on hold…and one copy. If we figure two weeks a borrow, the waiting list is over three years long… In reality, I think people tend to drop off the list, and some people return it early (I think that’s still possible…I haven’t borrowed from the library in some time). Still, I would guess a wait list of a year is not an unreasonable estimate in this case.

  4. Carol B. Says:

    I agree with Ed. If the libraries could be treated like Amazon Associates, receiving a percentage of every book sold on their site, it could be a good thing all around.

  5. Round up #238: Yo, Joe! Adobe obsoleting some EBRs | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] of updates, I wrote about changes to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page back on January 19th. Well, they are still rolling out…and there has been a lot of negative […]

  6. Round up #179: the uncanny Alexa, Todd Bol | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Round up #235: Little Free Library, “Buy It Now” public library button […]

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