Amazon's new Kindle Owner's Lending Library will let Amazon Prime members borrow e-books on their Kindle devices. By offering 5,000 popular titles at launch, this is a brilliant way for Amazon to cross-promote their Kindle product and Prime membership services. Over 100 New York Times bestsellers are already available right now. This alone could give the Kindle devices an advantage over other tablets like iPads and Barnes and Noble's Nooks.
For a $79 annual Prime membership, Kindle users can enjoy free borrowing with no due dates along with their free two-day shipping for online purchases (plus their usual Prime benefits like free streaming of content). With this deal, you can borrow up to one book a month. You can return the book whenever you're done or ready to borrow another. As long as your Kindle is registered to the same eligible Prime account, the same book can be read on any number of Kindle devices.
Additionally, all your reading notes, bookmarks, and highlights are saved and linked to your Amazon account. So, in the future, if you end up buying or borrowing the book again, all that will be available too. Unfortunately, the Lending Library will only be available on Kindle devices and not the other Kindle reading apps, such as on your Android or iPad.
Some downsides may be that you can only read one book at a time, not to mention it really isn't free because of the $79 you pay to get Prime access to the library. Borrowing a new book means the current one will disappear until you borrow it again. Moreover, many U.S. publishers have yet to sign on to this lending program.
Kindle's vice president of Kindle content Russ Grandinetti says that they expect Kindle owners to read more and bring in more revenue for publishers. Recently, Kindle also opened up their users to e-books from public libraries. Different from the Lending Library's collection, those can be read on Kindle reading apps. With the Kindle Fire to roll out this month, it seems as though Amazon is doing everything they can to ensure its access. Are you tempted to get yours this holiday?