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Oops. Kindle cannot support library books

Published September 15, 2010 10:22 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I know, I know. I made a horrifyingly tragic mistake in last week's column about e-book readers that may cost thousands of lives and at least a couple hundred bucks for some of you.

And for my sins, they're taking away my iPad.

Last week, in a question about which e-book reader is best, I was asked which is a good model for renting digital downloadable books from public libraries.

In a sudden fit of brain cramps, I wrote that Amazon's Kindle e-reader can download library books. WRONG!

I later learned from a batch of readers and the Salt Lake County Library that the libraries in fact do not support the Kindle. My bad.

I came to that erroneous conclusion because I read that the Kindle supports PDF files, one of the formats provided by the Salt Lake County Library system. I therefore deduced it can handle their books.

But if I read the fine print on the library's website, I would have realized that the PDF books rented out by the library use DRM, or digital rights management, to protect the files from being copied. Unfortunately, the Kindle does not support that kind of DRM. Why?

Greg Near, spokesman for the Salt Lake County Library, explained. "It is entirely up to Amazon [to make] the Kindle protected-files compatible," he said.

"At this point, they want customers of the Kindle and iPad to purchase the files — hence, not making them available from their local library. With the explosion in popularity of e-books, it could take a while for the manufacturers to catch up with the public's demands and work out a plan to include public libraries in their service."

What a shame. The Kindle is by far the biggest-selling e-book reader on the market, if you exclude the iPad, which isn't being advertised as just a reader. It should support downloadable books from public libraries to make it that much more attractive.

So what e-readers do support the public libraries catalogue of books? Sony and Barnes & Nobles' Nook are the two most popular.

Having explained all this, however, I still think the Kindle is the best reader to buy. You won't have to worry about whether the company will stop making it or if Amazon will stop supporting it. —

Need help in the land of technology?

I No question is too novice or pro-grade. E-mail him at ohmytech@sltrib.com