Today OverDrive — arguably the most popular provider of eBooks to public libraries for lending — responded to the many concerns public librarians have voiced regarding how well their library’s patron privacy is protected now that Amazon is part of the check out loop.
OverDrive’s solution to privacy is as follows:
For visitors who wish to use these applications or services, these third-parties may require visitors to register using an email address to access their software or services. The visitor’s name, address and other identifying information are not required, only a valid email address. Registration can be accomplished anonymously (e.g. using a valid email address that does not require other identifiable information). Patrons who wish to read on Kindle, for example, may find it convenient to use their existing Amazon account information, but it is not required. Full post here.
Kindle owners who only use library books or free books from Amazon have the best of all worlds. However, Kindle owners who want to also purchase Kindle books will have to deal with the extra hassle of creating a second dummy account, then deregistering their Kindle from their paid account, registering with the dummy account and transferring the library eBook, and then reregistering with their paid account next time they want to buy a book. At least that seems to be the logical application of what OverDrive is suggesting.
It’s possible that transferring by USB instead of wireless might circumvent this — haven’t tried it yet — but there goes the wi-fi convenience factor. And speaking of convenience, how many people will find their privacy worth jumping these extra hoops? Libraries historically have cared far more about patron privacy than patrons themselves.
What do you think?