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Kindle Lending

Everyone got very excited last week when Amazon announced that they would soon allow lending of e-books on the Kindle. This is great – as far as it goes.

Some of the questions that came to this librarian’s mind to ask were:

1. Is this feature going to be like the one that the Barnes & Noble Nook has had for a while and not require that the format be in the restrictive Amazon e-book format?
2. Is the feature going to be only for individual owners of books or will institutional owners like libraries be permitted to lend in this fashion?
3. Will there be simple institutional policies for e-book lending of Amazon purchased format e-books? And Kindle devices?
4. Will the e-book be treated like a print book in this lending environment? (i.e. it will disappear from your device when lent?)
5. Will it be as easy to use as apps like “Bump”?
6. The announcement contained the limitation that books could be lent “if publisher allows it.” This is well within the rights of publishers but what percentage of Amazon suppliers have granted this lending right? How many books and at what point does the purchaser find out if they can lend their purchase?
7. What jurisdictions will the lending feature be available in?

Just questions, but questions nonetheless.

Some of the answers so far:

“Kindle to get lending feature just like Nook – sometime in 2010

Your Kindle 3 and your other Kindles will soon get a Nook LendMe type feature that lets you lend books once. The key details –
– Each book can be lent only once.
– The loan can be for a maximum of 14 days.
– You can’t read your book while you’ve lent it.
– Publishers determine if books are lendable.
– Feature arrives sometime in 2010.”

It’s a development worth watching. Are library users being discriminated against. Can this become an economic as well as a digital divide issue?


Posted on: November 1, 2010, 10:57 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. I got gadget lust when I saw the Kindle. Then the nook came out and I didn’t think it was quite as shiny, but still wanted one.

    Once I heard the nook could check out books from my public library, and I checked to see if there were 10 books available in the right format at my library, I had the nook in my hands within 24 hours.

    Kindle lost (with me) because of the format restrictions. Oh well.

  2. I don’t think this will be that successful in the end, but it’s a start in pushing publishers to a more open, accessible policy. Why should they only be lendable for 14 days? Are individuals libraries? Of course they haven’t said whether this will be for individuals or libraries, but either way they are continuing to dictate what owners can do with their own property. And why only once? These restrictions are bordering on the ridiculous, since I should be able to do what I want with my own property.

    But that’s the key issue, isn’t it? What publishers and Amazon are saying is that even if their customers “buy” an e-book, they don’t really “own” it. Stating that there will now be “lending” based on these restrictions is kind of an insult to the customers.

    I’m not sure how libraries should/could respond. Not that many have purchased e-book readers for patron lending as yet, but getting Amazon to admit that e-books are capable of being lent is a big step to library adoption. If it were up to me, I would not participate as a library in this scheme as it breaks the library model of ownership and lending policy.

  3. A lending web site for Nook owners ( started shortly after the Nook hit the market. They have been very successful in bringing together Nook owners that wish to share there lend-me books to other members. A sister site ( was launched as soon as the lending feature for the Kindle was announced.