In case you haven't heard, on Wednesday Amazon announced the creation of Kindle Library Lending, a service which would "allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States." Amazon is partnering with OverDrive to deliver the KLL, making it likely that academic libraries will be among the first to receive invitations to participate. (In fact, some of you may have heard from OverDrive already.)
Jennifer Howard, at The Chronicle for Higher Education's "Wired Campus" blog, breaks down the issue in more depth, noting the potential persistent (but private) annotations could have for patrons of academic libraries, as well as linking to a post from last year discussing the problems academic libraries have had lending the Kindle devices themselves. While the new service involves lending digital objects rather than the physical e-readers, some of the concerns with electronic documents in general will remain.
Sarah Houghton-Jan raises a number of other questions that all libraries -- public, special, or academic -- should be asking about the Kindle Lending Library.
As academic libraries increase the representation of e-books in their collections and endeavor to provide robust electronic reserves support to faculty and students, there's definite potential to be found in services like the Kindle Lending Library. But we must also make sure that such services will be just as robust in years to come as they are initially, and that our patrons will actually find them useful.