“I’m not dismissing the Kindle. I’m angry at Amazon/Overdrive for collecting patron data. Trade-off isn’t worth it.”
A reader suggested that I check out the Librarian in Black Blog written by Sarah Houghton. I’m so glad she did. I had no idea there were goth librarian blogs.
Ms. Houghton’s self-described rant regarding Amazon/Overdrive’s privacy policies is worth watching. The video is great. Plus, Ms. Houghton looks fabulous in black with a lovely handcuff necklace.
Her rant reminds of the “I’m mad as hell” scene in the movie Network. She lashes out at Amazon for not doing all it should to protect library patrons’ right to privacy. Libraries (brick and mortar or digital) typically are prohibited from giving out lending information without a warrant. But under the Amazon/Overdrive system, libraries no longer control of this data.
So what’s the big deal? One commenter on Ms. Houghton’s video quips, “feminist goth chronicles and Eat, Pray, Love are high on the FBI list of subversive reading material.” That is not the point. The point is that a hallmark of a free society is freedom of thought. The government or Amazon should not have warrant-less access to everything you read.
Ms. Houghton is also troubled by Amazon/Overdrive advertising directly to patrons. Upon check-out and return, Amazon solicits Kindle owners to buy the books they are reading from Amazon. Ms. Houghton finds this commercialization of the library to be tasteless and crass. I have to agree. You aren’t supposed to get a sales pitch when you check a book out of a library.
I’m not sure what all this means, but I’m happy to know that librarians (especially goth ones) are looking out for my rights.
Bonus — If you use digital books, you may want to check out EFF’s checklist
Tiny top hat tip — eperdu