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Amazon Launches Digital “Lending Library”

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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18 comments

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8:14AM PST on Nov 9, 2011

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

9:29AM PST on Nov 7, 2011

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

3:58PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

No way. Give me a solid BOOK.

3:41PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

cool.

2:46PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

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.

10:57AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

interesting.

10:56AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

interesting.

10:24AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

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.

8:43AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

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

5:51PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

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.

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