The Nook and e-Lend Options

One of things that both I and other people seemed to be most interested in on the new B&N Nook was the ability to share titles between readers. Sure, they had a 14-day limit, but there are times when I wish I could impose this on my lent-out printed books, so that's easy to get around. Original Nook announcements claimed that e-books on the Nook claimed that e-books would be lend-able an unlimited number of times, albeit not to more than one person at a time (kind of like a printed book -- are we seeing the parallels?).

But, lo and behold, DRM could not go so smoothly. Instead, publishers - yes, publishers! - are digging in their heels and throwing a bit of a fit about the lending of e-books. I fail to see the problem, really, as printed books are swapped, traded, lent, borrowed, stolen, etc, on a regular basis, and if our claim is that e-books should not replace printed books, than why would we want to establish e-books as "fixing the problem" of borrowed print books?

In response, B&N has limited lending to only 1 time per book. I guess that's kind of like lending a printed book to someone who always forgets to return it...

Moreover, with the ongoing debate about e-book pricing, does it really make sense for publishers to claim that e-books should be priced at the same level as their printed counterparts while simultaneously limiting the uses and capabilities of e-books? I'm big on not undervaluing e-books so as not to undervalue printed books (look at the crazy price wars), but in order to back up this claim, publishers (and e-book retailers) have to start addressing some of the issues of e-books: not compatible from one reader to the next, no lending rights, etc, etc, etc.

In the end, though, I guess it boils down to one question: e-book or p-book, does book lending really threaten publishing, or does it serve to promote books, authors, and the like? Any thoughts?


  1. Have you heard/read NPR's All Tech Considered? Check out the blog on e-books, broadcast on Monday.

  2. Just got my 1st ebook last week - something I got off for my iPod Touch Kindle ... The Hobbit... (movie might not be out until 2012)

    and then there besides Kindle for PC, something called Stanza - which reads ebooks in ePub format (?) if I got that right... so far with Stanza and the website, I downloaded : The Call of the Wild, Declaration of Independence, The Einstien Theory of Relativity, The Elements of Style, A Modern Utopia by H.G. Wells, Treasure Island, The Federalist Papers and the King James Bible. Since on most/all of these, it is like 70/75+ years after the death of the author - the copyrights have ended.

    ... not exactly helping the book publishing industry but at least when I am in a long line at the grocery store - I have more than enough to read off my iPod Touch!

    You can download versions of Stanza for Macs, iPhone/iPod Touch or if you must Microsoft Windows users at:

  3. Let me know what you think of the reading on Stanza - I haven't tried it yet. I have the Classics App; for $2.99 you get about 20 books (all public domain by now). I've just read The Wizard of Oz and now I'm on to Dracula... which is surprisingly terrifying, even though I already know the outcome.


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