Amazon Launches Digital “Lending Library”

As of Thursday, Amazon lets Amazon Prime members download one free book per month onto their Kindles in a new program called Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. According to the company’s website, there are more than 5,000 titles available for the free download, although the decision about whether or not to lend out the books is made by each title’s publisher.

So far, none of the six largest publishers in America have consented to have their books available through the virtual lending library. The Wall Street Journal claims that senior publishing executives are concerned about the free service hurting the sales of their older titles, which is why many publishing houses have withheld permission. Publishers who will allow their titles to be included in the program include Scholastic, Lonely Planet, and F+W Media.

The announcement comes just two weeks before Amazon launches the highly-anticipated Amazon Prime, a digital reader in direct competition with the iPad. The lending library program is intended to boost Kindle sales, as well as promote Amazon Prime membership, which costs $79 annually.

Traditional libraries are not concerned about the competition with the Amazon lending library. Libraries anticipate that many people will not be able to afford Amazon Prime, and they also want to continue to be a resource for patrons who are looking to read beyond the bestseller lists.

Personally, I am unimpressed with Amazon’s new service. The list of books available for free download is extremely small, and not having the participation of the major publishers sends up a red flag that this development is not necessarily good for the book business. Additionally, I wouldn’t think that one free book download a month would be a huge bonus for someone who can afford both a Kindle and an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon has been a major contributor to the decline and fall of the bricks-and-mortar bookstore, and this seems like yet another calculated move on their part to monopolize book sales and marginalize printed books in favor of their Kindle empire.

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Photo credit:kodomut

18 comments

Victoria Pitchford
Vicky P5 years ago

I don't use e-books though, prefer actual hard copies.

Chris J.
Chris J5 years ago

I love real books too much. Call me old fashioned.

Veronica C.
Veronica C5 years ago

No way. Give me a solid BOOK.

Kamryn M.
Kay M5 years ago

cool.

Juliet D.
judith sanders5 years ago

Nice, but it won't take the place of strolling down the aisles in Borders, being tempted by subjects and authors you never heard of before. Unless you relentlessly surf the web, it's really hard for new intellectual content to get into our lives. Stagnant ideas mean the collapse of our culture.

JE M.
-- -5 years ago

interesting.

JE M.
-- -5 years ago

interesting.

diana rojek
diana r5 years ago

The new Amazon tablet is the Kindle Fire, Amazon Prime is a service that yoyu pay $79 a year for "free" 2 day shipping on all purchases, free videos/movies/TV shows and no is adding the service of one free book per month from their lending library. This article was rather poorly researched, if you are at all interested it is best to go to Amazon.com and get the actual facts. I have NO affiliation with Amazon.

Tamara H.
Tamara H5 years ago

Don't forget to use your local library, many of which have free eBook lending.

Andrew Carvin
Andrew Carvin5 years ago

GET AN E-READER
ANDROID TABLETS THAT COST AROUND $99 SUPPORT E-BOOKS ALONG WITH TONS OF OTHER FREE SOFTWARE DEVELOPED FOR THE PLATFORM.
OR
IF YOU DON'T LIKE TO READ, GET AN MP3 PLAYER, AND LOAD UP A BUNCH OF AUDIOBOOKS.