Penguin Shuts Down Libraries’ Access To New E-Titles On Amazon’s Kindle

Chances are you’ve already heard about the beef between Amazon and Penguin over the sales and lending terms of Penguin e-titles through Amazon’s Kindle lending program. If not, we can recap quickly. A few days ago Penguin came out with a statement saying that it would suspend making digital editions of new books for libraries and that libraries are to lock down any e-titles for Amazon’s Kindle ereader.

“We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers,” said Penguin in an official statement on Monday, reports HuffPo. “However, due to new concerns about the security of our digital editions, we find it necessary to delay the availability of our new titles in the digital format while we resolve these concerns with our business partners.”

While many are blaming Amazon for the revocation of already-sold titles, it may not be the digital retailer’s fault. Amazon has released a statement saying that it was totally uninvolved in the actions that Penguin took in collaboration with OverDrive, an e-book supplier service, to freeze the titles. According to BoingBoing, The American Library Association had said the following:

Penguin Group’s recent action to limit access to new e-book titles to libraries has serious ramifications. The issue for library patrons is loss of access to books, period. Once again, readers are the losers.

If Penguin has an issue with Amazon, we ask that they deal with Amazon directly and not hold libraries hostage to a conflict of business models.

This situation is one more log thrown onto the fire of libraries’ abilities to provide access to books – in this case titles they’ve already purchased. Penguin should restore access for library patrons now.

UPDATE – Penguin replies:

In follow-up to our statement yesterday about supplying Penguin Group (USA) digital books to libraries:

Penguin USA took the decision yesterday to withhold the supply of new digital titles from suppliers to US libraries until concerns about the security of the copyright of its authors have been resolved.

In addition, Penguin informed suppliers to libraries that it expected them to abide by existing agreements to offer older digital titles to libraries only if those files were held behind the firewalls of the suppliers.

Following receipt of this information, Overdrive, a supplier of ebooks to US libraries, removed “Get for Kindle” from its offering.

Penguin has subsequently been informed by Amazon that it had not been consulted by Overdrive about the terms of Penguin’s agreement with Overdrive. Amazon has undertaken to work with Penguin and Overdrive between now and the end of the year to address Penguin’s concerns. Penguin will, as a result, restore the supply of these titles until the end of the year in order to return the availability of older titles to all its digital customers.