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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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September 2011
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Kindle Library Lending Has Begun (In Seattle)!

The long anticipated release of Kindle library lending has begun!  Beta testing for the new integration with Overdrive Library, a product of the Cleveland-based company whose software powers most library eBook lending in the country, is now going on in Seattle libraries.

Ever since the initial announcement that these two companies would be working together to bring the feature to the Kindle, there has been an impatient audience waiting to take advantage.  Library lending has often been touted as the one thing that allowed anybody to claim a significant advantage over the Kindle in the eReader marketplace.  With recent hardware updates for both the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Kobo eReader, news that this feature gap will finally be closed will be a big asset for the Kindle line.  While at present only the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System will get to borrow Kindle Editions, the opportunity will be making its way to over 11,000 libraries nationwide once the testing is complete.

The user experience should be remarkably familiar for most Kindle owners, as it is essentially just a short step before the procedure normally employed for purchasing a Kindle eBook in the first place.  To rent a book, you start off in the library’s website and browse their available content.  Seattle Public Library, for example, has around 25,000 eBooks at this time.  Not all of those will be in stock at any given time, of course, so waiting lists are available to handle anybody who doesn’t get to the latest new acquisitions in time.  The library’s collection will be browse-able through OverDrive’s software and you will check out as would normally be the case.

Once the eBook is put on your library card, for whatever period the library allows, presumably, there is a button labeled “Get for Kindle”.  Clicking on that brings you to an Amazon.com store page with “Get Library Book” in place of the usual purchasing button.  Click it and you’re done!  You’ll be notified three days before the loan expires.  There are, however, some minor inconveniences.

One, you will not be able to use the 3G coverage on a Kindle to download your library books.  Either WiFi or USB connections will manage it just fine.  Should you happen to have an older Kindle or Kindle DX that does not have WiFi capabilities, and should you be unfamiliar with the method for putting eBooks onto your eReader, it’s as simple as downloading the file to your computer and dragging it over the the Kindle in your Computer menu like you would any other removable drive.

Two, some library patrons are apparently unhappy with the recommendations presented during the Amazon.com steps of the borrowing process. Given Amazon’s eBook sales business and the fact that the library rentals will be offered freely, I think it unlikely that they will make any significant effort to remove the unobtrusive sales pitch but it is something to be aware of if you find such things truly unpleasant.

These aside, it sounds like the process is smooth and should generally be more streamlined than any other eBook borrowing procedure at this time.  Library patrons will finally be able to make the most of their Kindles.  With luck we can expect to be seeing this service pop up nation-wide by the end of the year.

AmazonLocal, Meet Amazon Kindle

Anybody remember not too many months back when I speculated that the coming of the Kindle w/ Special Offers meant a strong possibility of an Amazon move against the Groupon dominated local offer business?  Yeah, I’m definitely taking full credit for the idea and feel that I am sure to be getting royalty checks any day now.  Well, maybe not…

Anyway, as was previously speculated would be the case, the popular ad-supported Kindle will now be playing host to a series of locale specific deals through the AmazonLocal program.  The AmazonLocal program, for those who have yet to get any information about it, is a local deals web service that offers customers as much as 75% off of various goods and services in their areas.  They launched it earlier this year, and have been spreading the service’s influence throughout the US.  So far, 44 locations across 15 states are covered and more are popping up all the time.  While it is separate from the Amazon owned LivingSocial deal site, many deals sourced through LivingSocial can be found in both places.

The initial Kindle deals will be limited to New York City customers.  Kindle owners in Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, and Brooklyn will get to take advantage of a few offers over the next couple weeks that should make the idea of ads on the Kindle even more attractive.  According to the recent press release, the first few big offers for New Yorkers will include:

  • $7 for a one-hour bike rental in Central Park ($15 value)
  • $5 for $10 at Dangerfield’s Comedy club
  • $59 for one month unlimited yoga classes at Bikram Yoga Grand Central ($180 value)
  • $5 for $10 worth of ice cream and ice cream cakes at Coldstone Creamery
  • $45 for lunch at City Winery ($98 value)

The major attraction of the Kindle integration with AmazonLocal will be the completely computer-free access to the service.  Not only will potential customers be able to encounter new deals as a matter of course without going out of their way, just by closing their books and glancing at the screensaver, but even the purchases will be taken care of.  Customers wanting to make the purchase offered through this program will be able to grab it through the eReader and present the redemption voucher as an item displayed on the screen to the business in question.

This functionality, while not yet a part of the Kindle experience, will be included in an upcoming software update.  Once again, it seems that devices that do not have the integrated Special Offers will be left out of the promotion, increasing the overall appeal of an ad supported eReader.  Given the unobtrusive nature of the advertisements while reading, and the value of the advertisements that have been and will soon be offered, it will be no surprise if the Kindle w/ Special Offers is appealing for far more than simply the associated price cut.  Should you be somebody who is both interested in the offers and uninterested in ads on your Kindle, make sure to check out www.AmazonLocal.com!