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Chicago Public Library Will Soon Offer Kindle Ebooks

By Betsy Mikel in News on Apr 20, 2011 9:58PM

2011_04CPL.gif Amazon just announced its launch of Kindle Library Lending, which is big news for public libraries nationwide. Most public libraries, including Chicago Public Library, work with OverDrive to distribute ebooks. But, until now, OverDrive could not support Kindle — it could support pretty much any ebook reader except Kindle. This was entirely due to the Kindle technology and compatibility. In other words, it was up to Amazon to change the Kindle formatting to make it possible to lend books across libraries.

Ruth Lednicer, Chicago Public Library’s director of marketing and press, said the library does not yet have a date for when Kindle ebooks will be available, but it’ll be sometime later this year. Once Kindle ebooks are available via OverDrive, all new ebooks CPL purchases will be compatible with Kindle. And, the change will work retroactively, too. The 3,158 ebooks CPL already owns will also become Kindle compatible.

“We’re thrilled,” Lednicer said. “It’s huge for us, and it’s huge for our patrons as well.” The push for libraries to carry ebooks further proves that publishing isn’t dead — people are still reading, they're just beginning to read more with different technologies. “That’s the biggest thing for us. Libraries have always been in the business of providing information and we have to adapt to how people need to get that.”

In 2010, CPL loaned 36,103 ebooks; that was twice the number of ebooks they loaned in 2009. The library also has twice as many ebooks available to loan in 2010 as they did in 2009.