Amazon Announces Lending Feature for Kindle

Kindle 3 vs Barnes and Noble Nook side by side
Kindle 3 vs Barnes and Noble Nook side by side

The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived.  Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has finally announced plans to allow Kindle book sharing among Kindle users.  Like the Nook, the Kindle book can only be shared one time, and will have a 14 day lending period.  The book will not be available on your Kindle while it is on loan to another person.  This feature should be available by the end of this year.

I will admit, as much as I love my Kindle, the fact that I couldn’t share books with people was a real disappointment for me.  Part of what makes reading so enjoyable is the ability to share and discuss books with people close to you.  I bought The Help, a bestseller by Kathryn Stockett, and knowing that several others wanted to read it, I had to buy the hardback version.

This new development is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t quite allow the lending freedom we’ve all hoped for. Lending rights will be up to the publishers, or whoever holds the rights to the particular book.  Considering the war over e-book prices, it will be interesting to see how strict publishers are about allowing lending capabilities.

Speaking of lending books, I would like to see more headway in allowing Kindle e-books to be checked out in libraries.  Contrary to popular belief, libraries are at the forefront of emerging technology and digitization trends.  Many libraries are purchasing Kindles to loan to their patrons to use, and that system has shown signs of success.  As of now, since the Kindle has its own copyrighted e-book format, it cannot be used.  Other e-readers have open book formats that allow their e-books to work in libraries.

If Kindle books were available to check out in libraries, I think that would boost sales of the device itself.  It would also reach out to an even wider variety of readers who may not have had the opportunity to learn or explore the idea of using an e-reader.

9 thoughts on “Amazon Announces Lending Feature for Kindle”

  1. What does THIS mean? “The book will not be available on your Kindle while it is on loan to another person.” It is very common for families to share a single kindle subscription (ie, husband, wife, kid on one kindle account but with multiple kindles. Buy the book once, any kindle registered to your account can access it.
    So if I loan a book to a friend for 2 weeks, what does “not available on YOUR kindle” mean? Does that mean that the book will no longer be readable on any of my kindles?
    That doesn’t seem right.

  2. As a publisher and author, I find it difficult to justify offering ebook lending in libraries. Libraries are no good for authors and publishers, as past the initial purchase by the library, you don’t get any revenue from each new reader. $9.99 is a reasonable price for a book, and the people who make them need to eat.

  3. the kindle handles open book formats just fine, the only thing it doesn’t handle is the DRM locked-down e-pub format

  4. This is good news.

    Hopefully this means library access for ebooks will also soon be available for the Kindle just like the Nook, Sony, and Kobo are able to do.

  5. I think libraries lending out Kindle books would be great!
    It’s a great promotional tool and it’s amazing what one knowledgeable and plugged-in librarian can do to help spread the word about a cool read.

  6. If the book could be lended more than once, it could create some second-hand market :-). When you publish on craigslist your books list and offer lending for a dollar.

  7. Susan,

    It just means it won’t be available while the person is borrowing it (14 days). After that it will be readable (probably it will just be locked out).

    I agree with you trav – the moment Amazon adds the library lending feature it will explode even further on the market. I’ll gladly switch from my Sony to a Kindle if they do away with the keyboard and add an E-Ink pearl touch screen (like the new Sony Readers) and add the library lending feature. I love basically everything else about the Kindle except for maybe the font.

  8. The only thing holding back library lending is publisher GREED. They want an ADDITIONAL revenue stream (first hardback sales, then paperback, and now e-book). With DRM’d library e-book lending, the process and money flow could be nearly identical to library purchase/lending of paper books, except no one would have to kill the trees, print the books, truck/ship them, build/organize self space etc. etc. If it were not for GREED, everyone could make the same money they do now and libraries should be able purchase lend-able e-books for a lot less than paper.

  9. A lending web site for Nook owners ( started shortly after the Nook hit the market. They have been very successful in bringing together Nook owners that wish to share there lend-me books to other members. A sister site ( was launched as soon as the lending feature for the Kindle was announced.

    Membership for either site is free. The sites are aimed at Kindle or Nook owners that are seeking others for sharing. Members can search inventory, set alerts, and add books to their wish list. BFN has only been operating since early this year, they are averaging 500 successful loans per month.

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