December 8, 2022

Love Whispersync, Hate the Terms: How can schools legally work with Kindle technology?


For the past few years, I’ve recommended against using Kindle hardware and Kindle Store content in school libraries, while acknowledging the high quality of Kindle products. The problem? Confusing and potentially damaging contractual language in Amazon’s terms of use. Now, Amazon has me tempted with Whispersync, an amazing new ebook service for simultaneous or seamlessly alternating text and audio reading. Kindle’s contract still scares me. Are you listening, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos? Let’s find a solution.

Christopher Harris About Christopher Harris

Christopher Harris ( is coordinator of the school library system of the Genesee Valley (NY) Educational Partnership.


  1. Anne-Marie Gordon says:

    Chris, I hope you get an answer!

    I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted trying to get a straight answer from Amazon & Audible over this very issue. There’s nothing in writing anywhere, and I’ve received different answers about terms & device limits from different reps. I had to go begging on Twitter before I was given access to a rep who would give me any answers at all.

    I adore Audible’s product, and if someone wanted to take my Kindle, it could be pried only from my cold, dead hands. I want to follow all the rules for access and licensing. But how can I, when no one REALLY wants to acknowledge that “school accounts,” or apparently worse, “school LIBRARY accounts” actually exist?

    I just received an email today that Mackin has jumped into the streaming & downloadable audiobook game. I’m reserving judgement until I see “the rules…”

  2. Did you ever get an answer?