Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping Overdrive books on a Kindle for extended times

Here is a discussion on the Amazon Customer Discussion boards about how ebooks from Overdrive expire on the Kindle.

It seems that if the wireless is shutoff on the Kindle there is no mechanism to expire the book from the device. This allows people that need more time to finish a library book to keep their wireless off so that the book does not expire and they can continue to read the book even though technically it is due.

On the discussion board there seems to be some debate about whether this practice holds up other users that want to use the book. From reading over the thread I think it is the case that the book goes to the next person in line even though the book is still on the other persons Kindle. The library system shows the book as expired so it goes to the next person.

There is probably one person out there that made an investment in a "library" Kindle. You buy a Kindle for $79 and you never turn on the wireless. You then load library books on the Kindle via USB and the books never expire.

Several years ago there was news stories about a new DVD technology that allowed for DVDs to degrade when exposed to air. The idea was that you could have a rental DVD that you did not need to return because 48 or 72 hours after the DVD was first opened and exposed to air in would no longer work. From the articles  the degradation process was based on oxidation and this made the disc unplayable. The idea never took off mainly because of environmental concerns. Every rental under this model would become trash after a couple days. A friend and I joked that if these DVDs had taken off there would be some geeks somewhere that would build an argon chamber to store their rental DVDs in so that they would never oxidize. We joked that someone would build a $20,000 airless chamber to save $500 on DVD purchases.

Ebook versus print books when buying from Amazon as a Prime member

Two article that I saw recently that got me thinking about when I buy print books versus when I purchase ebooks.

For Amazon Shareholders, Prime Boosts Costs And Trashes Profits

Amazon: Print Book Unit Sales Up; More Content For Prime

I am a Kindle owner and a Prime subscriber. If I am purchasing a book to read I typically prefer the ebook version. I have gotten really used to reading books in large print and I am able to do that with any book on my Kindle. This may be the height of laziness but I also no longer have to hold books open. I really like the Kindle because I do not have the weight of a regular book and I do not have to hold the book open.

The reason why so many people have to "curl" up with a book is because they are heavy and you need to get in a comfortable position to read the book. I have been doing a great deal of my reading while I am on the treadmill and the Kindle works better for me in that setting.

That said I am still a very price conscious person and recently prices have been driving me to purchase more print books. Several books I have wanted to purchase recently have been more expensive as ebooks than the paper copy. Because I have an Amazon Prime subscription I can get the paper copy to my door within two days for no additional cost. So when I run into a situation where the Kindle copy is $9.99 and the paper copy is $8.99 I have been buying the paper copy.

The article about Prime trashing profits for Amazon is interesting. I am curious to see how long Amazon will continue to subsidize free shipping. Now that Amazon gives other benefits to Prime members such as the Amazon Kindle Lending Library and the Amazon Prime Instant Video they may be able to drop free shipping at some point and still maintain Prime subscribers because these people still find the other features of value.

I think Amazon may also still have free shipping for Prime but only for the slowest method of delivery. Currently two day delivery is free. I think that Prime members will get regular shipping for free and two day delivery will cost $1-$2. This is still a discount for two day shipping but it will reduce some of the loses for Amazon.