Penguin Removes E-Books from Lending Libraries

Amazon Kindle Lending Library (via Amazon.com)Michael Kelley for TheDigitalShift:

The number of ebooks available for libraries to loan has just shrunk as Penguin Group USA has decided, for now, to no longer make digital editions of new titles available for library lending.

As with my arguments on the future of wireless, cable, and music providers, this seems a shortsighted decision from Penguin.

Removing the lending feature, particularly from the Amazon Kindle Owner's Lending Library, simply demonstrates an unwillingness to acknowledge the future. Lending is, of course, an integral part of the literary world, but publishers are clearly averse to embracing any modern, electronic form of the venerable library system. Although Penguin's media relations manager, Erica Glass, cites non-specific "security" concerns as the reason for the removal, Penguin's true motives seem rather obvious to any observer of the industry.

While this is a setback, the removal is unlikely to last for long.

As with most industries, the old guard is often apprehensive to change. Lending libraries, such as Amazon's, are very new, but also very promising for the future. Adoption rates from publishers might be low at the moment, but I would not be surprised to see them all quietly jump on board in the very near future.