The ebooks being borrowed by Amazon customers aren’t the same ePUB files being licensed to libraries via Overdrive, they’re Amazon’s files that they’re allowing their customers to access via a marketing partnership with local libraries.
Basically, Amazon one-upped Barnes & Noble’s Read In-Store feature that allows Nook customers to “read NOOK Books FREE for up to one hour per day” in any of their 700+ stores, and put the exact same feature in every Kindle customer’s living room via 11,000+ public libraries, without the physical and timing limitations. Notably, it seems they’ve also side-stepped Overdrive’s new WIN (Want It Now) Catalog that allows library patrons to purchase books (and audiobooks) directly, via links to retailers.
As “licensing” increasingly becomes the norm for various forms of media, knowingly or not, libraries are finding themselves on the front lines of a battle that most consumers arguably don’t even realize is being fought: the question of ownership in the digital age.
— LJ’s Guy Gonzalez, from his blog, Loud Poet