“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

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~ by siouxsielaw on November 11, 2011.

5 Responses to ““I’m not dismissing the Kindle. I’m angry at Amazon/Overdrive for collecting patron data. Trade-off isn’t worth it.””

  1. I’ll watch the video in full after work, but I must agree. Ms. Houghton is one beautiful, stylish lady.

  2. I love the Librarian in Black! She is awesome and she has a very strong point.
    Unfortunately, until the nation as a whole speaks up and fights for our privacy rights, they will be slowly chipped away.

  3. I am glad librarians are looking out for us. I prefer books, but I do know E readers are taking over and in so many ways it’s more convenient. I would rather get a Nook though. Kindle is just urgh.

  4. I have a huge long rant of my own about this video. In short, I think she makes librarians and library systems out to be ignorant when she implies they had no idea what they signing up for. I assume SOMEONE read the contracts? If not, you can’t blame Amazon OR Overdrive.

    My biggest gripe with this particular rant is that she places all the blame on Amazon and you can’t do that. There are multiple parties involved, not just Amazon.

    Ehm, yeah, I’ll skip the long rant and leave it at this. I think she has valid points but she wasn’t able to articulate them in a manner that befitted her position and her knowledge. It was more ranty pants than anything.

  5. I love the Librarian in Black and this is a really good example of why.
    The biggest problem with with the lack of privacy in Kindle lending is not so much the lack of privacy (although that is always concerning) as that library patrons expect that their reading in the library is private in a way they don’t expect when shopping on Amazon. Essentially Amazon is using libraries’ good reputations on privacy and freedom to read to cover and obscure their own practices.

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