Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Penguin Adds Opaque Statement Indicating Kindle Lending Restoration May Be Temporary

On Wednesday afternoon Penguin issued another statement on the Kindle library lending issue that showed further disagreement with OverDrive. The supplier had said earlier in the day (reported in Lunch) that Kindle lending for Penguin books had been restored--without noting that this was a temporary restoration "until the end of the year."
The two companies also disagree on exactly how the Kindle lending was suspended in the first place. OverDrive had said Monday they were "instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable 'Get for Kindle' functionality for all Penguin eBooks."
But Penguin's new statement said that it "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." By the publisher's account, "following receipt of this information, Overdrive removed 'Get for Kindle' from its offering."
Compounding the communications disputes, Penguin says it "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."
One possible read: Amazon has not been lending "files...held behind the firewall of the supplier" Overdrive. As we reported earlier, publishers indeed had expected that Overdrive would serve Amazon-compatible files, only to find that was not the case. Instead, Amazon has been lending files directly from their own servers. Amazon, in turn, seems to be maintaining that Overdrive didn't indicate the current arrangement might not be provided for under Overdrive's publisher agreements.
Then Penguin extended their policy regarding new titles to the UK as well, saying: "Consistent with the policy announced in the US earlier this week, Penguin has taken the decision to delay the availability of new digital files to its library suppliers in the UK while we work to resolve security issues with our partners."

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