Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Amazon Overdrive Potentially Lock Up Libraries

It’s ironic the day after we wrote about Amazon joining the dots they take another stride and connect some more.

Today Amazon has announced Kindle Library Lending, that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the US. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps. To achieve this monumental step Amazon has aligned itself with Overdrive who have successfully built a business opening up the public libraries to ebooks and now have gone past the US and into Europe.

Today we only know what is in press releases and therefore there is potentially huge opportunity to speculate wrongly on what might be. The one thing that is certain it is a huge wake up call for all bookstores, libraries, publisher and authors. Amazon has once again invented the surprise.

The question we would have today are:
  1. Is the Overdrive/ Amazon deal exclusive and what are the terms of any exclusivity as that could others from merely following the party?
  2. Is there an intent from Amazon to acquire Overdrive, circumvent it later, or keep it as a partner. It would make a great deal of sense to use Overdrive as sales force into libraries?
  3. What will this mean to sales as both Overdrive and Amazon as both straddle the buy and lend markets and Amazon clients now have a clear added value of choice and an opportunity to lend first?
  4. Library esupply will become harder for the competitors and Kindle is a massive plus for libraries so what can competitors seriously do?
  5. Does this new blurring of lend and buy now offer the libraries the opportunity to become resellers and cash in on this through an affiliate back door?

Some ask how it could work? We see the answer as being fairly simple. The libraries and Overdrive already have the system interfaces to manage membership authorisation and communicate loans etc. All Overdrive has to be able to do is present the titles available via Amazon. When it receives a loan request, it merely fires this off to Amazon to pack and dispatch in real time and conform successful receipt. They may do it differently, but it looks simple to us and probably a no brainer to them!

So we may not like eink, but Amazon have extended this to a platform offer and now are stepping up their consumer awareness. Look in the newspapers and watch TV, they are building a brand and brand awareness and now offer library lending.

The only uncertainty today may be Google, but what’s new

1 comment:

Librarianboy said...

My hope is that if Amazon did eventually aquire Overdrive, that the interface and user experience would be significantly improved.