Not all books are eligible. In fact, many users are not happy with the few titles that are available, but I expect that will change as the program grows. I would assume that Amazon is just taking some time to try out the ebook lending service before they expand it significantly.
The program is even available to people who do not have a Kindle or who do not even have a Kindle account of any type. When they receive a notification of a book loan (explained in more detail below), they will be invited to download one of the many free Kindle apps for whatever device or computer they are using.
Here is how Kindle lending works -
- The owner of a Kindle book can let someone borrow a book (if it is eligible for lending) by going to the “Manage Your Kindle” menu.
- If the book is eligible, there will be a box that says “Loan This Book” next to the title.
- The owner simply clicks this button and puts in the e-mail address of the loan recipient.
- The recipient receives and e-mail with an invitation to borrow the book.
- The recipient simply click the “Get your loaned book now” button, and clicks accept when going to the Amazon page.
- If the borrower does not have a Kindle account, they will ned to create one. If they do, they need to choose what device to send the loaned book to.
A few notes on this service -
- The loaned book will only be available for 14 days.
- The original owner of the book will not be able to read the loaned book during that 14 day period.
- This program is currently only available to United States Kindle users.
So, that’s it! As I mentioned above, some have complained about the lack of titles available, but I do expect the number of lending enabled books to grow once the program really takes off. It will be up to the publisher of the book to allow a book to be borrowable, so it seems that many are waiting to see if the program spurs more book purchases, as the last thing the publishers want to do is opt into a program that makes them less sales.
In addition, some have expressed concern about the fact that the owner cannot read the book while it is being borrowed. However, to me this is no different than a physical book. If I let someone borrow a paperback, I can’t read it at the same time (I mean, I guess I could look over their shoulder, but that might be a bit awkward!). It just makes sense that they would not allow such sharing, as they have to make profit from book sales, and allowing sharing by multiple users would probably lead to abuse of the system.
The idea is growing fast. There is already a community dedicated to Kindle book sharing. You can check them out on twitter at @KindleLending.
I do hope that the program is extended beyond the US to all of our Kindle friends around the world!