If you have been paying attention you knew it was coming. The Kindle Lending Library from Amazon. If you own a Kindle, yes you have to have a device not an app, and a Prime Membership you can now borrow books from Amazon.
- Kindles start at $79
- Prime Membership is $79 a year.
- You can only borrow one book per calendar month.
- Right now there are about 5,000 titles.
- The book currently being borrowed can be read on multiple Kindles.
- devices, as long as they are registered to the same eligible account, but cannot be read on Kindle reading apps.
- One book can be borrowed at a time, and there are no due dates. You can borrow a new book as frequently as once a month, directly on your registered Kindle device, and you will be prompted to return the book that you are currently borrowing.
- If you have already borrowed a book in that calendar month, you are not yet eligible to borrow a new book until the next calendar month. There is no “roll-over” or accrual of unused borrowing eligibility.
My 2 cents: Honestly I see this hurting publishers and authors far more than libraries. Sure for $80 a year getting to borrow a book a months is a good deal, especially bestsellers. But as someone who has worked in libraries and bookstore almost my entire life I know that a significant demographic library borrows buy books too. Those are the people I use using this service, the ones who already bought the bestsellers because they didn’t want to wait for it. Of course now they can’t donate that used copy to the library. But they’ll still visit the library for other reading material and programs.
What do you think?
PS I’ve been checking the price points of books that are available and so far none of them is over $7.99 and nothing from my wishlist is available.
13 thoughts on “Amazon Announces Kindle Lending Library for Prime Members”
I feel like this can only be good for libraries because it reminds people that it is possible to borrow books while imposing a one-book-per-month limit on the number they can borrow. “Wait, can’t I just borrow unlimited books at a library? Maybe I should go there.”
Run the scenario out a few years:
1. Prime costs $4.99/month
2. Borrow 3 books at a time, knowing you’re 2 clicks away from borrowing 3 different ones (vs. a dozen clicks at your local PL, where there’s a waiting list).
3. If you really like the book you can buy it (lease it) with 1 click with the “extra 10% discount for Prime members.”
You can also get every newspaper and magazine this way.
All research materials are available on the web for free via highly-curated web sites.
The only reason to visit the library is for the annual book sale.
There are a couple of problems with this scenario. Right now you can only borrow one book per month from Amazon. So three books at time isn’t possible. You are assuming several things here that are false a) everyone has a kindle b) everyone can afford a kindle c) everyone wants a kindle d) that even if someone has a kindle and this option that they won’t still use the public library e) that books are the only reason people use the library library.
Also in your scenario there would be no book sales at the public library because a great many of those books come from donations and you can not donate ebooks, so there wouldn’t be any to sell.
I think it’s kind of exciting! I also don’t see this really hurting libraries either, though I could see how it will change things if they work out a better borrowing system in the future (probably hurting Overdrive more than anyone else). One book at a month isn’t going to be enough for anyone with a real reading habit that’s heavy enough to drive them to the library. Plus, not everyone has a Kindle/computer/skills to use a Kindle or a computer, especially among the library users.
I agree Laura!
I was speculating “out a few years” and also acknowledging the fact that everyone de facto has a Kindle because the software runs on virtually all devices. I’m just not willing to cut Amazon any slack when it comes to libraries. I think that the company does everything it can to undermine them…even when, as with its Overdrive deal, it appears to be supporting them.
Libraries are to me much more than books, but without books, are they libraries?
I would still argue that the 43.6 million Americans living in poverty and of those the 20.5 million living below the poverty level will not have access to Kindle nor be able to pay for the $79 year for a prime membership per family member that is required.
There are many who would argue that libraries are about information and content no matter what format they might be in. There are others who would argue that we are community centers and community hubs.
But I don’t believe that print is dead or will be in 5 years. Right now only 12% of the public actually owns an ereader. Just by the fact that you and I are online and talking about this means our perspective is skewed. Its very hard to see outside our own bubble.
Thad and Bobbi,
Kindles will be free in a few years, if not by next Christmas. I would guess that Kindles or the Fire will even be packaged in educational offerings thus setting the hook. And it may not even matter that the big 6 wont make titles available to lend, Amazon may have reduced them to the Wary 3 + Amazon Publishing.
Books wont go away soon, and libraries will always be the haven for those affected by the digital divide, but libraries will have to come up with original concepts and content to keep interest high for those not beyond the divide.
And think of this, Amazon has very deep pockets for a national advertising campaign, name even one beloved local library that has that power.
Good point John. I’ll confess I thought a Kindle would be free by this Christmas. 🙂
You’re right about the campaign, one of the biggest challenges facing libraries is that we have no unified voice to speak on our behalf.
as a small indipendent and ethical e-book publisher I think it is great, it enables me to compete with the big boys out there and also help more people in the process as the royalties go to good causes.