Amazon takes big step in e-book deal with libraries, but activists seek more

Michael Blackwell, Director of St. Mary’s County Library here in Southern Maryland, has been a very vocal advocate for public library access to ebooks. I thought this article about Amazon sharing content with DPLA would be interesting reading for our group.

Especially this part: “Amazon also won’t receive any patron data through the deal with DPLA — an aspect of the deal that even Fight for the Future cheered.”

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One win that advocates can truly celebrate in this deal, however, is that these e- and audio- books will not be used by Amazon to spy on library patrons. The Digital Public Library of America cut a licensing deal that shields library patrons from Amazon’s prying eyes by keeping all patron data within their app—as opposed to letting Amazon slurp up all the data of public library patrons who opt to read an ebook on Kindle,” Lia Holland, Fight for the Future campaigns and communications director, said in a statement after the deal was announced."

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This is great news, and I hope to see other states following suit. Regulatory solutions are possible!! We can and should demand that these companies have to bend the knee to us! We can have that power!!

Also I gotta say that the framing of this as “Amazon takes the step to offer more e-books in libraries” instead of “Maryland passed a law requiring Amazon to offer more e-books to libraries, and so as a PR move Amazon came out and said they were gonna do it anyway even though we know that they’re only doing it because they have to” made my eyes roll out of my head lol.

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That’s pretty fantastic, and surprising! I can’t imagine a scenario in which Amazon does anything without getting more spying out of the deal.

(Someday I’d also love to see publishers forced to not treat libraries wildly differently from other people buying books, I’m curious to know more about the details of the pricing schemes and stuff, since libraries having to funnel MORE public money into Amazon seems not awesome, but it’s something!)

Yeah I hope later on we don’t find out that we thought patron data was safe but Amazon had some sort of loophole to gain access to information. Time will tell!

Well, they already keep our ebook checkout histories stored in our Amazon accounts, but that’s not new. Also maybe the first regulatory step is to force them to sell to us, and the second step is to force them to delete patron checkout histories. :smiling_imp:

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