November 26, 2015

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.

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On October 14, 2015 Library Journal, School Library Journal, and thousands of library professionals from around the world gathered for the 6th annual Digital Shift virtual conference to focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital transition’s impact on libraries, their communities, and partners. Now available on-demand, this year’s program provides actionable answers to some of the biggest questions our profession faces for and from libraries of all types – school, academic, and public and features thought-provoking keynotes from John Palfrey, author of BiblioTech: Why Libraries Matter More Than Ever in the Age of Google, and Denise Jacobs, tech leader, author, and creativity evangelist.
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…”

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