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Amazon To Allow Lending of Books on Kindle with Restrictions and Publisher Consent



Amazon is letting Kindle users know that they will be introducing Kindle book lending “later this year.” Of course this isn’t the kind of lending that you can do with a real book made out of dead trees, where you could pass it around your entire extended family. Nope, not in the world of innovation sparked by the digital revolution.

From what Amazon says in its letter you can lend a book for a period of 14 days, but the lender can’t read the book at the same time. An eBook can be lent once and that’s it. And, of course publishers can choose to turn this off and not allow it for their books if they so choose. I’m guessing most of the publishers can’t wait until technology allows eBook reading devices to transmit back to them when a different user than the one who owns the device is reading a book.

We’ll have to see how this plays out. Keep in mind Barnes & Noble has allowed lending with the Nook for some time now, so this is probably the only front that Amazon is playing catch up with that platform on.

In the same letter Amazon also lets users know that they will be able to read newspapers and periodicals on other devices that can use the Kindle software. This will start on iOS devices and then move to Android and migrate to other devices from there.



  1. Gordon

    10/22/2010 at 9:32 pm

    In my reality, nearly every good book I “lend”, never comes back. So I’m in the “let ’em buy their own books” camp. But I do see how some will love it. Plus, even if I bought someone a kindle book I already have I’d would still be cheaper than the tree killing alternative.


  2. quillaja

    10/22/2010 at 10:12 pm

    I’m totally fine with the 14 day loaning period, but I absolutely cannot understand the restriction that you can lend a book only ONCE in its entire lifetime. That’s ridiculous. If they want to avoid simply allowing your friends to read the whole book instead of purchasing their own copy (although you can do this with paper books easily enough…), then why not restrict sharing to one share per friend? That seems way more reasonable, and would allow a user to “spread the word” more than the current model.

    “Hey John, I got this really great book. I’d love to lend it to you, but I already lent it ONCE, so tough. Go buy your own you freeloading scum.” is essentially what this restriction is saying.

  3. savagemike

    10/23/2010 at 5:27 pm

    I think the lending should be unlimited length and unlimited number of times – just as a paper copy.
    However, this would surely spark immediate creation of large online ‘lending groups’ – which would be unfair to publishers I think.
    Only one person should be able to read the book at a time – that is fair.

    My solution would be that to lend a book you have to provide some level of personal information about yourself to whomever you are lending to.
    The tricky part is just what information is selected. It can’t be full on (ss # and banking information) but must be enough that people would not feel comfortable transmitting it to unknown people online.
    Because let’s face it – the one thing people absolutely do not really like to share online is actual indepth personal information.
    I am not talking about what they like or dislike and pictures of themselves or their cats.
    I am talking about full names and addresses and phone numbers.

    Another strategy would be to only allow a share to happen when your machine is in local proximity to the borrowers machine. So you couldn’t just ‘share’ online with others.

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