Ebooks have now surpassed Hardcovers in sales: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/20/technology/20kindle.html
Back in September I had to make a decision on whether I should buy a Kindle, Nook, or Sony. There were the standard checkbox features, which were consistent across the board, but there were some stand out features. Kindle had the document management and sending features, Nook had the lend and borrow features (and the nook color just came out), and sony was just expensive.
With all things being equal the lending features became the hot topic. I wanted that feature, especially when publishers were being greedy and increasing the price of ebooks.
I obviously went for the kindle, mainly because I trusted Amazon more than Sony or Barnes and Nobel. That isn’t the point, however the lend and borrow features have been gimped beyond its usefulness.
Lend is a feature, which got its start on the B&N nook. Kindle eventually got this feature. The idea is that you can lend a book for 14 days to a friend. Lending, however limits the service to 1 “lend” ever. This only works when the publishers allowed it. Why would an author or publisher allow its product to be lent out? Another lending feature was started by the libraries that allow ebook borrowing. This is where the head bang wall problems begin.
Being annoyed that the Kindle didn’t have this feature (now it does), I thought of a work around. I would download the book to my computer, and then uploaded to the nook app. That is a lot of work to explain to someone, but to save $12.99 (new ebook price), I would do it.
Libraries are now offering lendable ebooks for your device. A device is anything that can play “Epub” (sorry kindle). Once again kindle fails at this (but does it)? I spent all day trying to register a device and download book. All I could say is, I’m still happy with my kindle.
1) go to any library’s website and find the link to start the process. My childhood library was impossible to navigate. The local library where I live now, didn’t even support it. My work library has it, but hard to navigate. So far, 0 for 3. Look at the image, and explain to me where the “ebook section” is (Hint: It is where Audiobooks are located).
2) Get taken to an external website. Once you find the correct part of the library site, you have to go to a poorly coded external site. A site that pops up, without menu bars. What you see here is exactly what someone sees. Half of your screen with no menu bars, and scroll bars.
4) Hope that your book is available. Out of 600 choices, there was 1 book that was available. The problem is that you can’t try out the process because all books are always on wait. Not a short wait either. Most books had 10 people ahead of you. That is 10 people at 14 days each. Each book has a 6 month wait. You now have to place a hold, and finish the process to get your books 6 months later.
5) I found a book, and now I can’t find the download link. Once I eventually did find it, and I click download, and it required me to download 2 different programs. Adobe DRM license management and “overdrive.” Overdrive was the least complicated, but still overly complicated. Their “store” sent you back to this site where you have to do the above process again. Adobe DRM forces you to log in, but the forget password doesn’t work, and creating a new account isn’t as simple as username/password.
So what did I learn?….
Borrowing ebooks from the library is a waste of time. Like I said I spent the majority of my time navigating terrible websites to only be presented the realization that all books had a 6 month waiting list.
This checkbox feature on all .Epub devices is pure marketing. While it is technically feasible, 99% of people will never use it.
What to do now?…
Buy the ebooks at your local ebook store.
Use lending services like lendle.me or booklending.com. I have used both services, and while they are not great, I have gotten two books I wanted to read in less than one week.