But for libraries, Amazon's willingness to get in the game represents a huge opportunity. If Amazon takes this fight on, the most logical approach would be to advocate for some form of Digital First Sale, which means we could potentially have the leverage we need to "buy" ebooks at a market value rather than the ridiculous licenses eating up our budgets.
But of course, we should learn from Amazon. They are probably patenting this ahead of time and will build the software before taking on the fight, because they need proof of concept. They need to demonstrate how they will not hurt the market or increase piracy- something that only Douglas County and the handful of libraries who have followed their example have done. Libraries all over need to realize the importance of Amazon's approach. They are patenting the marketplace and building the ecosystem ahead of time, because they know they can't get what they want without it. Our approach has been exactly the opposite. We ofter abstract arguments and ideas, but have nothing on the table.
Finally, don't think this makes Amazon one of the good guys. Please recognize that this is another salvo in the battle for control of the digital economy. There is no way of knowing if it will actually help us, as Amazon's needs simply happen to meet some of ours at this point. We need better solutions and leadership on this issue or we will again be left further out to pasture and even less relevant than before.