Dateline: April 1
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos today took the stage with the usual choreographed flourishes to announce a new Amazon program for libraries.
“For too long,” Bezos explained, “libraries have operated in an eBook dark ages, unable to offer a variety of titles due to budgeting limitations, dishing out popular fiction while often ignoring nonfiction and substantive fiction, and seeing patrons limited by outmoded ‘one book/one user’ checkout business models that prevent libraries from realizing the true potential of digital content. Today, those dark ages end. Amazon is shining a bright light that will allow libraries to enter the 21st Century. We call it “Library Co-opteration.”
“In this model,” Bezos continued, “library readers will get access to all of Amazon’s published titles using a Kindle, the BEST eReader product EVER developed. But wait . . . there’s more. We have lots of other authors, too, with names to conjure with. We’ve worked out arrangements with authors to get paid on a per-use basis. Our first author is James Patterson. One we got him . . . um, once he enthusiastically endorsed us, all the others lined up, knowing that they had no choi . . . um, that this would be a great way for ALL authors to get more visibility with the help of those great champions of the book, librarians. We have Roberts, Coban, Sparks, you name ‘em, if a book is worth reading, or even if it’s not, we’ve got ‘em.”
“For a mere $1 per library user, libraries can get access to a robust catalog, with every title offering simultaneous access to unlimited library users. There’s even a brandable app. It says ‘_____ library has been Co-opterated!’ Just fill in your name and logo. It’s THAT EASY. The small 'Powered by Amazon' logo is barely visible.”
When reached for comment, the AAP President said “I am ExLIbris of AmaBorg. Resistance is futile. Library life, as it has been, is over. We are being well paid. More books than ever will be read. Reading will once again reach the primacy it once had as a form of entertainment and information. From this time forward, you will service . . . Amazon.”
A spokesperson for library eBook vendor OverDrive exclaimed, “We’re having to completely revamp our app, again, but soon it will give access to every one of the Amazon Library Co-Opteration titles. And our users will get this bonus feature: OverDriveCo-OpterationRead, with access to titles in the browser of your choice, as long as you’re using a Kindle Fire!”
A bemused ALA President Sari Feldman noted “Our Digital Content Working Group is formulating a response. But Amazon is offering free Kindles to every library user registered in the program. It seems like Amazon might be trying to use libraries, but this initiative could certainly help ‘Libraries Transform’ the reading landscape.”