Can you check Kindle out from your public library?

If you live in Hanover, N.H., the answer is yes. Everywhere else, the situation is still a bit murky.

Library Journal is reporting that the Howe Library in Hanover was quick to jump on interest in Kindle, Amazon's electronic book reader, last summer. The library purchased three Kindles, with the intent of leaving one in-house and lending out the other two.

Interest in the device grew so quickly – there are now more than 80 people on the waiting list – that the Howe Library has since purchased a fourth Kindle.

But Amazon's own response to the idea of Kindle on library loan has been more ambiguous. Library Journal says the Howe Library called Amazon and received approval from them before putting their Kindles in circulation.

When Library Journal called Amazon, however, they were told that the Amazon Terms of Service "bars library lending" – although they "don't talk about ... enforcement actions."

This is a policy that's probably going to require clarification.  As the Library Journal points out, Kindle offers "a low-cost alternative to sometimes costly interactive library loan" and could even provide "access to newspapers for which on-time daily delivery is difficult."

It's hard to imagine libraries not wanting to revisit this.

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