Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Amazon to introduce Kindle e-book lending

25.10.10 - Graeme Neill - The Bookseller

Amazon is to introduce e-book lending for customers to loan titles to other Kindle users. However, the retailer has said an e-book will only be lendable if the publisher or rights holder allows it to be.

In a posting on its customer forum in the United States, Amazon said the feature will be introduced this later this year. Each book can be lent for up to 14 days and the lender cannot read the book during this period.

It is unclear whether the service will be introduced in the UK. There is no announcement on its co.uk site Kindle discussion page. The move could be seen as a way of targeting Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book reader, which also offers e-book lending.

Amazon also announced in the same posting it would be making Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on Kindle apps.

Amd the PublishersLunch take on it:

Amazon to Borrow Nook's Lending Feature

On Friday Amazon announced on their Kindle forums that "later this year" they will borrow Nook's "Lend Me" feature and make ebooks available for limited lending, using the same basic rule set: "Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable - this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending."

Everyone's having lots of fun citing Jeff Bezos's remarks on Nook's Lend Me feature to Deborah Solomon in the NYT Magazine last December: "The current thing being talked about is extremely limited. You can lend to one friend. One time. You can't pick two friends, not even serially, so once you've loaned one book to one friend, that's it."

With a very active customer forum, it's easy to envision Kindle customers organizing online book swapping around the new lending feature, limited as it may be. Some customers welcome the new feature in their posts; others complain about the limitations, or complain about Amazon's separation of itself from epub and thus their lack of integration with public libraries and Overdrive's library lending service.

Amazon also said they are adapting subscriptions for "many" of the Kindle newspapers and magazines to read via the family of Kindle apps. PaidContent says that the Wall Street Journal will not participate in letting their subscriptions be read across the Kindle apps, and they suggest other major publications--many of whom have or are developing their own apps--will also opt out.

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