Kindle Library Lending

I work in a library, so I often get questions about how the Kindle Library Lending program works.  It is a new program so it hasn’t really gotten too popular yet, but it shows promise of being a great success.

The program is currently available in roughly 11,000 libraries. For North Carolina, there is a North Carolina Digital Library that is a local subset of OverDrive that includes the Kindle e-books.  I’m sure there are equivalents in other states. The Kindle Library Lending program is a partnership with OverDrive, the website that handles most digital library books, including ones for the Nook and iPad.

On a participating library’s main page, there is usually a widget or ad saying that they have books available for the Kindle. Once you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the library’s Overdrive account. For most libraries, you will need to enter your library card number. Different libraries have different ID’s needed to get in.

Click “Get for Kindle.” Then, you’ll go to the your Amazon account where you can download the book to any Kindle supported device. That includes the Kindle itself, as well as all of its apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android.

One thing to note: Public Library books on Kindle can only be downloaded via Wi-Fi. They cannot be downloaded via the Kindle’s 3G connection.  Wi-Fi is easy to find these days, but if you can’t get to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can hook up your Kindle to the computer via a USB cord.

Loan periods depend on the library.  Loan periods are usually for about three weeks for regular books, so I’m sure it will be similar with a Kindle book.  When the expiration date is up, the book will disappear from your Kindle.  So, no worries about having to remember to return it on time.

Kindle Library Lending is available in a lot of libraries in the US, but not in all of them yet. I am hoping that it will be available at my local public library in the near future so I can take advantage of the program first hand.

The role of e-books is increasing rapidly in libraries.  This goes a long way in breaking the stereotypical image of a library being a large, quiet building full of dusty books.  In reality they are constantly working to stay on the cutting edge of technology, and on new ways to reach out to their patrons.  The Kindle lending program is just one small example.

The Kindle lending program brings the library to you, and this allows people who can’t get to a library to have access to their favorite books.  For more information on the program, check out the Amazon Kindle Lending program FAQ on Amazon’s website.

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 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 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.

Kindle with Special Offers Shipping Today

kindleThe new $114 Kindle with sponsored ads ships today, a week before it’s projected release date.  In addition to the usual Kindle perks, you’ll find that there are a bunch of new and improved features available.

First off, the readers have a bit of say so in what sponsored ads they want to see.  Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will be introducing a program called AdMash, that allows the readers to pick what ads they prefer to have as their screensaver.

Also, according to Amazon, special offers include a variety of coupons such as:

  • $10 for $20 Gift Card
  • $6 for 6 Audible Books (normally $68)
  • $1 for an album in the Amazon MP3 Store (choose from over 1 million albums)
  • $10 for $30 of products in the Amazon Denim Shop or Amazon Swim Shop

You can find more detailed information about what the new Kindle offers on its product page.

In addition to the special offers and sponsored screensavers, the new Kindle has much needed improvements such as softer page turn buttons, audiobooks from, and a new Kindle Library Lending program is coming soon.  Best of all, there will be REAL page numbers.  No more frustrating searches to get to different parts of a book.

This deal has me thinking it is about time to upgrade…