image “We are a public school district with a corporate Amazon account. In good faith we purchased a Kindle. When it came time to download books, we discovered Amazon would only allow customers to order by credit card. Public school libraries, academic libraries and public libraries do not have corporate credit cards. So, bottom line, Amazon won’t let us buy Kindle books on our corporate account via a purchase order. Our Kindle is useless to us and our students have no access to this great technology. So much for innovation and Amazon’s lack of leadership in emerging technologies! And now we have a $400 loss at our taxpayers’ expense.” – A school librarian in New York.

The TeleRead take: Read the comments (appearing below her post), which overwhelmingly defend Amazon. I’d agree with them for the most part. That said, Amazon would do well not to allow purchase orders without warning customers of the complications—including the Kindle’s licensing terms, suggesting that this is really machine for individual use. See a LibraryJournal article and Rochelle Hartman’s thoughts on these matters. Psst! If the librarian and her school really want to keep the Kindle, they could download free nonDRM classics or buy nonDRMed books in Mobipocket format or DRMed ones from sources such as Fictionwise. Carefully read the format-related information in store FAQs. Confusingly, the Kindle can read nonDRMed Mobi for public domain sites and many stores but not the “protected” type unless the store has arranged for this.

Meanwhile, if nothing else, we know that the Kindle is in use at a New Jersey library—presumably one with a credit card—despite the legal questions. No, this isn’t the most school-and-library-friendly machine, but as long as you know the risks and workarounds, it’s far, far from useless. Of course, the Kindle will be more useful if Amazon gets behind the ePub standard, which could increase the number of books available for it.

Two public domain sites with Mobi/Kindle books: Feedbooks and

Image: Kindle with Sony Reader—CC-licensed from Jblyberg.


  1. I wonder if they used the corporate account to purchase the Kindle. I would think that if they purchased the Kindle through a corprate account then purchasing eBooks shouldn’t be a problem. However if purchasing the Kindle with a credit card is what they had to do I would think that would’ve been the first sign not to do that.

    That said. Why don’t they just buy eBooks that are accessed via a computer. Personally I love VitalSource Bookshelf and they could purchase the book and download the same books to two computers. Thus the problem would be solved.

    Or as you said find DRM free eBooks such as pervious post from months ago

  2. It was patently obvious to me how books would be charged when I looked at the Kindle.

    I’m not defending Amazon, per se, but only a modest bit of research before buying yielded this key point.

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