And I know at least 1 librarian who will stop buying Kindles because of the new rule.
Buffy Hamilton, a school librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia, leaked Amazon’s new rule on her blog, The Unquiet Librarian, a few days ago. She’d been given a copy of the new Kindle Education Setup Guide and was perturbed by a new rule in the guide:
Amazon recommends schools register each Kindle to a single account. If you are looking for a library solution, we are working to include Kindle books in Overdrive.com’s offering to libraries before the end of the year.
She later confirmed with a Kindle rep that this was indeed a new rule and that Amazon would enforce the rule.
Unfortunately for me, the situation isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. Buffy was given a draft copy of the new guide. Let me show you the relevant part of the current guide (PDF). The idea isn’t so unreasonable once that you understand why Amazon want libraries to do this.
Kindle was designed to automatically backup highlights, notes, and last location read. To do so, Kindle syncs wirelessly with a specific Amazon account. Therefore, Amazon strongly recommends assigning only one Kindle device per Amazon account. If, on the other hand, students share a Kindle and are reading the same book, they will see each others’ notes and be directed to the last page the other student read. This makes it very difficult to establish an individualized reading experience.
You have to admit that is a good idea. No one wants students to have to dig through someone else’s notes in order to find their own.
But it’s not good enough. Yes, giving each Kindle its own account will block whispersync from confusing the students, but there’s a better option.It’s simple, easy and will let you keep 6 Kindles on a single account.
You can go into the “Manage My Kindle” page and turn off Whispersync. There’s a setting down towards the bottom of the page that can be toggled on and off.
Whispersync has been around since the launch of the K2, and that was back in 2009. I checked, and the Whispersync could be enabled and disabled from the Kindle itself. That would remove the need for separate accounts, wouldn’t it?
Given that 6 Kindles to an account is a more convenient option for libraries, don’t you wonder why Amazon would recommend a sub-optimal solution?
I have to admit that I’m torn. I started this post with the intent to rip Amazon a new one, then flipped back and forth as I got more information. Right now I have to wonder if Amazon have a nefarious purpose here, because this rule certainly isn’t the best option.
image by Scurzuzu