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Kindle books now lendable

Amazon now lets e-book buyers lend those books to friends, but there are restrictions.

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2010 7:52PM

One of the major complaints about the Kindle -- Amazon's top-selling product of all time -- is that you can't loan the Amazon e-books you own to a friend.


Well, now you can -- with several restrictions (reaffirming the public library's status as the best place to borrow books).

  • Just like Barnes & Noble Nook e-books, Amazon e-books you own can now be loaned out for two weeks. "The borrower does not need to own a Kindle -- Kindle books can also be read using our free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices," Amazon says.
  • During that time, the e-book will not be available to the owner.
  • The borrower needs to read quickly. Unlike the library, the book can't be renewed.
  • Also, the book can be loaned only once. "To us, this is much more annoying than not being able to read a book while it is on loan," Christina Warren wrote at Mashable.
  • Not every e-book at Amazon will be available for lending. The publisher or rights holder will decide.

Loans must be made from the Amazon website, either at "Manage Your Kindle" or at the book's product page. "You cannot lend books directly from a Kindle device or through the free universal Kindle app. This is likely to upset a large number of Kindle users, who probably figured this service would be available without the need of a computer," Bryan Wolfe wrote at AppAdvice. Post continues after video.

Lending is simple. You fill in the recipient's name and e-mail address. The recipient has seven day to accept. "Fortunately, an unaccepted loan doesn't count against your limit of one loan per title," Dan Moren wrote at Macworld.


To see if books in your personal collection are eligible, check the "Your Orders" section at "Manage Your Kindle" and click the plus sign next to the title. E-books for sale that are lendable are labeled as such at the product page.


How many e-books will be made available for lending this way? "I've bought 20 books over the years; of those only three are currently lendable," Wolfe said.


At CNET, David Carnoy wrote that "Barnes & Noble has said in the past that over half its titles are eligible so we assume a good portion of Amazon's e-book titles will also be eligible."


Moren predicted that Apple will also make its iBookstore titles lendable. He added:

Personally, I'd like to see Apple try and leapfrog its competitors by getting publishers to relax the single-loan restriction -- to my mind, this is one place where e-books are less convenient than their physical counterparts. But digital content providers have tended to be pretty stingy in these scenarios, so I suppose I shouldn't be holding my breath for the entirety of 2011.

Will this new capability make you more inclined to buy a Kindle? Or are you content perusing the library shelves?

Jan 4, 2011 5:00AM
Check out the Kindle Lending Club page on Facebook - lots of people lending and borrowing Kindle books there.  Discover great new books for free, and share your collection with other book lovers:
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