Monday, July 09, 2012

Hotel to upgrade its Gideon bibles to Kindle e-books

Those Gideon bibles you see in hotels and motels are getting a makeover, at least in one hotel. Starting this month, the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is updating that Bible for the 21st Century at one of its hotels, replacing the paper versions with an e-book version of the Bible pre-loaded on Kindle e-book readers.

The hotel chosen for the experiment is the chain's Hotel Indigo in Newcastle, England, which will see each of its 148 rooms outfitted with a wi-fi Kindle. This hotel was chosen for the test due to its location.

Adam Monday, the hotel's general manager said, "Newcastle was formerly a publishing hotspot. We wanted to reflect this literary history in a very contemporary way so are offering guests the use of cutting-edge Kindles pre-loaded with the Bible, instead of the more traditional hardcopy Gideons Bible that they would expect to find in a hotel.

The Literary and Philosophical Society, which is the largest independent library outside of London, is nearby, he added.

The Kindles are, of course, linked to the hotel's account. Still, through July 16, guests can download other religious texts for free, as long as costs stay around $8.

Any other e-books will be charged to the guest's hotel bill, as will all purchases after July 16. Of course, the books can't be taken with a guest, and the Kindles will be wiped after each hotel guest's visit. Naturally, any missing Kindles will also be added - post-visit - to a guest's bill.

There is, of course an alternative to buying an e-book during a stay: borrowing a book from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, which currently has nearly 150,000 different titles.

However, the Lending Library allows one book to be loaned out to each Kindle per month. We'd expect the Hotel Indigo would have to make special arrangements with them to handle that circumstance, since most hotel guests don't stay for a month, and the obvious pseudo-over-lending could be an issue.

The Kindle will remain as permanent fixtures at the Hotel Indigo in Newcastle. However, following a two-week trial period, IHG will decide if it is worth putting Kindles in more of the chain's 44 hotels worldwide.

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