Penguin suspends library e-books, citing security

Nov 22, 2011 By HILLEL ITALIE , AP National Writer

One of the country's largest publishers, Penguin Group (USA), has suspended making e-editions of new books available to libraries and won't allow libraries to loan any e-books for Amazon.com's Kindle.

"We have always placed a high value on the role that libraries can play in connecting our authors with our readers," the publisher announced in a statement Monday. "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."

For non-Kindle users, the policy does not affect e-books already on library catalogs. Penguin's authors include Patricia Cornwell, Ken Follett and Ron Chernow, and new books include Sue Grafton's "V for Vengeance" and Rep. Michele Bachmann's "Core of Conviction."

The publisher did not cite any specific titles in its release and did not immediately respond to requests from The Associated Press to clarify its . Among publishers, "security" has traditionally referred to piracy, but this time it likely means Amazon.com's Kindle lending programs.

The is allowing its special Prime members to rent one book a month from a selection of titles provided by it. Penguin and other publishers declined to participate but discovered their books were still being included, a policy denounced as illegal by the , which represents published writers.

Meanwhile, Amazon has formed a partnership with the country's top library e-book supplier, OverDrive Inc., that vastly increases the Kindle's presence in libraries and encourages patrons to visit Amazon's website and buy books.

OverDrive posted a statement on its website that it had been asked by Penguin to "disable the `Get for Kindle' functionality for all Penguin e-books."

Besides being worried about Amazon's power in the digital market, publishers have long been concerned that allowing library patrons to download e-books might harm sales. Simon & Schuster and Macmillan don't make any e-books available to libraries, and HarperCollins has restricted their usage, a policy that angered libraries when announced last year.

OverDrive CEO Steve Potash said Monday that his company and Penguin were "in the process of looking at new terms" for libraries but declined to say what the terms were.

While borrowing e-books from libraries has become more difficult, buying books - Penguin's included - through is becoming easier. Starting Monday, patrons using the New York Public Library's website who wish to purchase a title can click a Buy it Now tab that links to participating sellers. The library receives a portion of the proceeds, and Potash said he expects the program will soon expand nationwide and into Canada and the United Kingdom.

Sellers involved so far are Barnes & Noble; BooksOnBoard, an independent e-store; and Amazon.

Explore further: Vatican's manuscripts digital archive now available online

More information: Correction: The Associated Press erroneously reported on the publishers involved in Amazon.com's Prime lending program, which allows members to rent one book a month from a selection of titles. Books from Penguin Group (USA) are not included.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Kickstarter suspends privacy router campaign

Oct 20, 2014

Kickstarter has suspended an anonymizing router from its crowdfunding site. By Sunday, the page for "anonabox: A Tor hardware router" carried an extra word "(Suspended)" in parentheses with a banner below ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nerdyguy
not rated yet Nov 22, 2011
Oh, boy. Here we go....
powerup1
not rated yet Nov 22, 2011
I believe that this has nothing to do with security, it is all about money. That is not a problem with me, but they should be honest.