Forget Kindle Unlimited, Use the Library
A library card is a much better acquisition, writes Insider Higher Ed columnist
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2014 12:13 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If there were a press release about this product, it might exclaim, "Revolutionary service gives you access to a virtually unlimited number of books!" writes Barbara Fister at Insider Higher Ed. She must be talking about Amazon's new Kindle Unlimited, which gives people access to 600,000 books (many of them of the self-published variety) for $120 a year, right? Nope, Fister is talking about the library, specifically the "interlibrary loan" service that allows libraries to pass around their purchases—books, ebooks, videos, music, whatever—to other libraries.

This simple, "audacious idea" would probably be the subject of congressional hearings were it floated today, "unless some hot tech startup invented it and called it 'Uber for books' or something," writes Fister, a college librarian. Amazon's offering isn't even the first, or necessarily the best, of its kind, but it's getting all the attention because of the company's Goliath stature. One critic referred to it as a "glorified library card," but Fister objects to that. "There's nothing glorified about it," she concludes. "A library card has a lot more going for it." Click for the full column.

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Showing 3 of 65 comments
iq145
Sep 20, 2014 12:20 AM CDT
Books & libraries, also newspapers & periodicals, are quickly becoming obsolete. With the web, cellphones, Kindles, Tablets, Blackberries and a few other things... info has become easier and more plentifully obtainable (and more fun) than what a boring environmentally burdensome library or newspaper can provide! Say goodbye to books, especially phonebooks! Example: We're here reading this site every day. We don't buy newspapers. This is more fun and more updated and more colourful and less messy and less burden AND it's interactive. We save money AND the environment. These days, "libraries" are just about little more than free "internet cafes". People go there when their home PCs are on the fritz or they don't own one.
Riddler13
Jul 30, 2014 8:17 AM CDT
"Forget Kindle!" "Forget libraries!" I suspect neither is a wise move and sadly reflects this era of polarized, "either/or" thinking. I long for a thoughtful argument from knowledgeable insiders (well-versed in library services AND technology's best role in this arena) about how best to INTEGRATE these two mediums. You know, not "either/or" but "both/and."
Bundy714
Jul 25, 2014 4:32 AM CDT
Thank God we still have libraries. They would never happen today because there is no Profit......we do almost nothing today, unless there is a profit to be made. I'm surprised the corporate shills haven't moved to kill libraries yet, calling them socialist or communist. Doesn't that sound familiar? Something for the common good, without a profit motive...has to be socialist and or communist.