Update: I had not noticed until it was pointed out to me in the comments that the article I was reporting on was a year old. It was shown in Zite as a recent article (probably because of the “March” dateline without a year in the blog posting format). My eyes slid right over the “2011” in the subject line. I should have done more research, but I was in a hurry to post. I apologize for misreading the date.

In fact, there was a more recent article from July stating that, due to friction with Amazon’s education representatives, the Unquiet Library would not be using the Kindle any longer, and was moving to Barnes & Noble’s Nooks in the future. The Unquiet Library was using five Kindles per account, as consumer accounts are allowed to use up to six, but Amazon now requires libraries, including K12 and school libraries, to use a single Kindle per account.

At the time the article was written, Amazon didn’t offer any other content management systems other than a subscription to Overdrive—not financially feasible for school libraries. As stated in the comments below, the Unquiet Library is now using Nooks (though I couldn’t find any articles about how it is using them in searching the site).

I still stand by my comments in the last paragraph of my post. The article said:

7.  Can you purchase ebooks for the Kindle from someone other than Amazon at this time?

Legally, no.

In other words, as phrased, this says it is illegal to purchase e-books to read on the Kindle anywhere other than Amazon. It’s almost certainly the result of bad phrasing rather than any intention to mislead, but it’s still a completely inaccurate statement by an otherwise reputable librarian, and I couldn’t let that pass.

Original post: For the last four months, the library/media center at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia has been lending out ten Kindle e-readers to its students. Librarian Buffy Hamilton has posted a summary of the results to the library’s blog, The Unquiet Library.

With the exception of one student (who does not consider herself a reader), every student who has tried the devices has been very happy about the program. Students enjoyed the ability to customize the font size and page view of the Kindle, and the way the library would purchase books they wanted to read. They have been very good about returning the devices within their one-week checkout period, and as the library adds more devices it plans to extend the period to two weeks.

Cataloging the books has presented a problem, as the way their on-line card catalog and checkout system is set up means they cannot list the Kindle e-books in it. They purchase the devices and e-books through a corporate account, and have been using AMEX gift cards to buy the books themselves (but are looking at switching to using Amazon gift cards from their local CVS Pharmacy instead).

One thing that’s a little puzzling is that Hamilton seems to be under the impression that she can’t legally purchase e-books from other places than Amazon to load onto the Kindle. Of course if she assumes the only places to buy e-books are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other DRM-restricted stores, that’s correct, but Baen sells its e-books DRM-free and includes instructions on how to load them onto Kindles. Likewise, there are plenty of free public-domain e-book resources such as Project Gutenberg that make e-books available in a variety of DRM-free formats. I’d have thought an e-book-using librarian would have been better informed.


  1. Dear Mr. Waters:

    I am more than aware of sites that offer free ebooks or DRM free books; unfortunately, they do not offer the current popular fiction titles our students request. However, we do point students in the direction of resources of Project Gutenberg for more classical titles they might need for school projects.

    In addition, the blog post you’ve quoted/referred to is from a year ago; you might want to visit my blog or http://www.theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/kindles for a more current update. We are now circulating Nooks and looking at eBook platforms for the 2012-2013 year. Perhaps you might want to read more than a single blog post before you make judgments about my knowledge or how I’ve gone about implementing eReaders and eBooks into my school library program.

    Buffy Hamilton

  2. I hope you realize the post you’re linking to (and talking about like it just started happening) is over a year old. I’m pretty sure that makes your final paragraph slightly condescending and probably inaccurate. Just sayin’.

  3. It seems you were a year off in your post about the Unquiet Library. She wrote that post in March of last year. Please be more diligent in your research in the future, especially when you want to criticize others.

  4. I probably should have been more specific in the post last year and stated the books my students want to read on the Kindle are NOT available for purchase or download legally in other places. The contemporary YA fiction my students ask for simply isn’t available elsewhere at this time; in addition, as part of a staff of two people and attempting to serve 1800 students + 100 teachers, I simply don’t have time to download content from multiple places and then try to manage it on multiple devices. If students need the free content, that is available from places like Project Gutenberg, we show them how to get it (appropriately) in small groups or in a one on one setting to help them get it on their own devices; we also incorporate those kinds of resources. into our LibGuides pages for projects when appropriate. If you had bothered to read beyond a year old post and researched my extensive body of writing and presentations or even contacted me personally to inquire, you would have known all of this.

    I would recommend in the future you do better research and avoid snarky, personal comments in your posts—my respect for Teleread has just gone out the window as I would expect that would hold higher standards of writing than what you’ve demonstrated. Being in a hurry is no excuse for what has transpired in your article, and you can be assured my colleagues in all areas of librarianship will know about how poorly this whole article was handled. I will never recommend Teleread again to anyone when I’m asked to speak on resources for eBooks and eReaders at conferences or in workshops.

    Buffy Hamilton

  5. If you see what you believe to be an error in someone’s blog, the polite thing to do would be to contact that person for clarification. Doing shoddy research and using the “I was in a hurry” excuse is incredibly weak and rude.

  6. For you to say “I’d have thought an e-book-using librarian would have been better informed” is the most off base, rude, and unnecessary remark you could make. Further, if you thought you had information to add, which Buffy Hamilton later clarified as sources her students have little interest in, you should have contacted her and discussed your thoughts with her. This is an unfortunate situation. However, it was created by you and you owe Buffy Hamilton a sincere public apology and you need to delete the rude remark.

  7. For quite awhile now, I’ve been saying that I wish people would share 1/5 as much as they currently do, and put five times more thought and research into what they share. Thank you for writing this blog post, which is the perfect embodiment of what I’ve been trying to express.

  8. So much unwelcome comments. Why? Don’t all of us make mistakes sometime? It’s usual, it’s in human nature. Cris apologized for this, everything is ok.
    Regarding Kindle and it’s content that can’t be available anywhere except Amazon – it’s merely the results of monopolization of market. Competition allows to make your own choice and whose who are not satisfied with the conditions of Amazon are free to use other e-book. I’m using Amazon Kindly for personal use and I don’t see any problems with downloading a legal content.

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