Assuming you have both a Kindle and an active Amazon Prime membership, you now get to make use of Amazon’s latest eBook related service, the Amazon Prime Kindle Owners’ Lending Library! Aside from having a rather unwieldy name attached to it, this will be a good thing for those who get to take advantage of it. Of course, aside from being occasionally lucky it might be hard to figure out how to take advantage right off the bat. We’ll start there.
First off, it is helpful to be aware that you need to do your borrowing from the Kindle itself. While you might find books that have borrowing enabled while browsing the Kindle Store on another device, in which case you will see “Prime Members: $0.00 (read for free)”, you cannot begin the borrowing until you pull it up on your eReader. If your Kindle software is up to date, the Kindle Storefront will now have a “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library” category to choose when you click on “See all…”. Look around from there and choose your book!
As far as what is currently available, none of the Big 6 publishing houses are currently taking part in this program. They have cited concerns that offering something like this will devalue the eBook as a format in the minds of customers. Strange reasoning, but not much we can do right now. Among the 5,000+ titles that are available, though, expect to find selections in pretty much every category. Keep an eye out for things like Vook Classics titles, which will work just fine but encompass titles that most people will get just as much out of when reading for free anyway. You only get one rental per month under this program, so it’s worthwhile to use it wisely.
That one rental will strike many people as rather little to get for the $79/year Amazon Prime membership, making this an ineffective marketing tool on its own, but it will probably help drive sales of the new Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire eReaders among existing Prime customers. Amazon is clearly convinced about this since they are once again putting their own money into getting a Kindle program off the ground. Not all of the books being offered are in the Library by publisher agreement, it seems. In cases when Amazon is able to grab eBooks through non-Agency Model relationships, they are simply buying at wholesale and then lending to customers, eliminating any publisher participation. The jury is still out on how long this will last before somebody gets really upset about it.
Reading a book every couple weeks is not at all unreasonable for anybody, and Amazon has said on multiple occasions that their data shows that Kindle owners buy more books than most people. We have to hope that translates into more books being read as well. Perhaps the intention here is to keep people interested in continual consumption and draw in those who haven’t yet gotten too invested in their Kindle. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, there’s no downside if you’re in a position to take advantage. Enjoy your book.