Tech Tip: Need to Know for Kindle Lending
Another week, another big Amazon release. The company dominated headlines recently by releasing its free Kindle book lending program. The feature allows Kindle owners to borrow e-books for free and for an unlimited amount of time from a library that features over 5,000 titles.
The program looks poised for popularity. By essentially opening up its own library, Amazon has tapped into a growing interest among consumers in borrowing, rather than buying, e-books. E-book checkouts at public libraries, for instance, have increased by over 200 percent in the past two years.
The lending program is also anticipated to generate additional buzz for the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s new 7-inch tablet which will hit the market in two weeks (just in time for holiday shopping).
Beneath the big headlines, though, are a few details in fine print that you need to know about:
1. You must be an Amazon Prime member to participate.
Amazon has designed the lending program as a perk of Prime membership. For a flat fee of $79 per year, members also receive free two-day shipping and, as of last February, unlimited movie streaming through Amazon instant video. The e-book lending program is only a good deal if you plan to take advantage of the other Prime benefits.
2. The program does not work on Kindle apps. It only works on Kindle devices.
There’s a reason why the program is called the “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.” If you read your Kindle books with an iPad or smartphone app, rather than on a Kindle device, borrowing e-books through your public library might be a smarter choice. Restricting lending to devices is, of course, one of the ways the company is generating additional buzz for the much-anticipated release of its Kindle Fire tablet.
3. Sure, the library features over 5,000 titles, but it’s also missing many must-read books.
Namely, books from any of the big-six publishers: Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Hachette. The publishers declined to participate due to concerns that the program would affect their profits or damage relations with book retailers. So, while the library has some critically acclaimed books, such as The Big Short, by Michael Lewis, it’s missing other popular titles, such as The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach. So don’t expect to find all of this year’s blockbuster books in the Amazon library.
You can find out more about the Kindle lending program here.
Will you take advantage of Amazons new library or is the public library good enough? Post your Thoughts below.
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