Of course, e-books are convenient. Just as MP3 players are convenient. But making things virtual brings on fear and vulnerability among purveyors of digital content. In the end, with digital content, we often end up with fewer rights than we have grown used to with the old physical content we have always had. Go to Amazon and look for any book, and it’s likely that you will find a few used books on offer at a fraction of the price of the new one. Buy an e-books reader like the Kindle and you will find once you’re done with a book you’ve bought, there’s no way for you to get something for it. Why, if you wish you could at least give it to your friend to read who happens to use a Barnes & Noble Nook, you’d be out of luck there too. You just don’t own your e-books the way you do regular books. In one weird case, Amazon, after it found that the publisher of a book it had been selling had some kind of change of heart over the whole arrangement they had with Amazon, decided to just remotely delete any copies customers had of the book on their Kindle readers.
Lendle (it’s supposed to sound amusingly like Lend + Kindle) has a great idea. There are many Kindle titles that you are allowed to loan out just once for a period two weeks. The people behind Lendle thought that if they could get all Kindle owners together on their website, that they could have have people with a copy of every ebook on Amazon to lend once. They felt that lots of people could find a book to borrow or a book to lend this way. Which, if you think about it, is a great idea. Except that Amazon hates it. They feel that Lendle found a backdoor that Amazon just did not intend for anyone to use. One doesn’t really know when they might shut them, or other sites like BookLending or eBookFling, down. With the Kindle or any other e-books reader, lending really is kind of a difficult area to deal in. Publishers always have the right to deny buyers the right to lend even once. There are just a handful of lendable e-books left on Amazon’s Kindle store today. The more in-demand a book is, the less your chances are that you’ll find that it is lendable.
If tomorrow, the laws were to change and state that if you bought a car you would not be allowed to sell it one day, would you ever buy it? Of course, you wouldn’t. E-book publishers need to realize that the more they allow people to sell, borrow and lend, the safer people will feel in making the investment. The e-books reader concept would become a whole lot more popular if people were given the freedom to act in the normal way with their purchase.