Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Of Innovation and Roadblocks

I've been planning to blog about my friend, Buffy Hamilton, and her new Creekville High School Library Kindle lab.

Buffy has been modeling best practices and transparency, taking us through every stage of the Kindle project, from preparing the devices for circulation to compiling a resource guide; recording a student Kindle promo to documenting the first Kindle checkout.

Wishing to build on this early, success, Buffy attempted to place an order for additional Kindles...and was blindsided by a new Amazon policy:

Due to strong customer demand, the current quantity limit is 3 Kindle devices per customer. We will forward your inquiry to the Kindle team and someone will contact you if we can meet your requirements and schedule.

A long phone conversation with customer service reps resulted in the same response. No exceptions for classrooms or libraries. Three per customer, period.

What has this policy accomplished for Amazon? In the short term, the loss of an order for 20-25 Kindles might seem an insignificant drop in the bucket. But there may be long term repercussions:
  • educators who have been debating the relative merits of Kindles, Nooks, and other eBook readers might decide to choose the more school-friendly alternatives
  • students will purchase (or request as gifts) the device with which they are familiar
  • as the reader goes, so go the book purchases
This could well be a temporary, pre-Christmas, quota system, but if so, it would have been politic for Amazon to indicate this in response to Buffy's queries.

I have to wonder if Amazon is subtly (perhaps not so subtly) trying to discourage Kindle use by libraries in general, rather than make concessions regarding the lending of eBooks.

Visit The Unquiet Librarian blog and follow the progression for yourself: from enthusiasm to frustration; adoption to...alternatives?

What are you thinking, Amazon? Really.

"CVHS Student Caitlyn Checks Out the First Unquiet Library Kindle" by theunquietlibrary


teacherninja said...

That is weird, but they clearly have no interest in playing nice with any type of library at this point. You'd have to get a (heavier and slower) Nook for that right now.

diane said...

These restrictions will certainly tip the balance in favor of Nooks in many districts.

Congerjan said...

These restrictions are one of the reasons my high school library dedided to go with Sony. We got 10 of them to try out.

diane said...

Be sure to post about your experiences with Sony, Jan. This is obviously a very short-sighted policy which Amazon needs to reconsider!