Some of you may have heard about Amazon’s recent decision to make Kindle books available for loan to library users. We are happy because this decision will allow us to offer downloadable eBooks to our customers who own Kindles. In addition, the library’s existing collection of over 1,600 eBooks will be available to Kindle owners.
Why is this a big deal? If you own a Kindle, you know. Up until now, the only source for contemporary Kindle content is Amazon’s proprietary pay-per-title model and the Kindle is the dominant player in the eReader market.
Actually, there was an interesting recent study by Forrester Research that reports that the most popular way to read an eBook is not what we might guess. According to the study, the Kindle actually comes in slightly behind laptop computers as the eBook platform of choice. More than 1/3 of those surveyed preferred laptops.
Laptops only slightly trumped the Kindle, 35 percent to 32 percent. Coming in third was the iPhone (15 percent), followed by a Sony eReader (12 percent), netbooks (10 percent) and the Barnes & Noble Nook (9 percent). Also at 9 percent was the iPad.
I don’t know if the Kindle decision moves us any closer to the holy grail of eReading – a single uniform platform for all eBooks, but it certainly allows us to serve our customers better and that’s what we most want to do.