If you like downloading e-books from the public library, it looks like you’re going to need to buy a Barnes & Noble Nook or a Sony E-Reader to do it. According to Vince Horiuchi of the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Amazon Kindle doesn’t support the digital rights management (DRM) files that public libraries use for their downloadable PDF versions.

Houriuchi interviewed Greg Near of the Salt Lake County Public Library about the reasoning behind Amazon not supporting the DRM files and Near’s reaction was that the compatibility issue was a Kindle problem and it “is entirely up to Amazon [to make] the Kindle protected-files compatible” with the library’s DRM files. It seems that Sony’s E-Reader and the Barnes & Noble Nook are already compliant with the DRM files… so why is Amazon dragging its feet on this one??  I guess only the developers at Amazon know the answer to that one, but Near has a guess that the big boys of e-readers want Kindle and iPad users to “purchase the files — hence, not making them available from their local library.”

I’ll have to test Greg Near’s assumption that the iPad doesn’t allow for public library access using the B&N Nook app (anyone had luck using Nook + Public Library??)

I agree with Horiuchi that the Kindle is the best reader out there on the market today and it would be great if Amazon expanded it to support downloads from the public library. We’ll have to see if that ever happens.

Hat tip to David Dillard from Temple for pointing out the SLC Tribune article.

  • I have a Nook from Barnes & Noble, and I've downloaded public library e-books from the San Francisco Public Library's Overdrive subscription with it. It works just fine. My one complaint is that there's a pop-up as you download the books saying "This Book is not Licensed to This ID" or something like that. And it pops up and then fixes itself about five times (in quick succession) before finally going away and allowing you to download the book in peace. You don't actually have to do anything about that pop-up, it's just annoying. Small price to pay for free e-books, right? Right.

    Once you've checked the library books out and loaded them on your Nook, you have a set period of time to read them (21 days, 14 days, or 7 days on Overdrive, you determine which), and then they're automatically returned and deleted from your machine. This is my favorite argument for library e-books, no overdue fees.

    I really love my Nook, but from the reviews I've seen, the page turn is slower and the battery life is shorter than either the Kindle or the Sony e-reader. If I had it to do over again? I'd probably still get a Nook (open source is important to me), but I'd take a very close look at the Sony before doing so. I'm also sad that there's an "email to Kindle" feature on WestlawNext but no option to transfer documents to other e-readers (maybe because they don't have the email feature?).

  • Anonymous

    I can read library books on my Kindle, using the instructions from Tip#3 at http://kindletips.slickferret.com/