Amazon Announces Kindle Library Lending

Book Cover I had a feeling this would come eventually: Amazon announces library lending for the Kindle. Over 11,000 libraries are going to be linked to the Kindle universe “later this year” and according to the press release:

Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.

“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”

I am presuming that if your local library does not have digital lending, you are SOL. And of course, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster authors hoping for patron action on your books, you’re also SOL since those two publishers do not allow library lending of digital books… which means if you’re looking to borrow some Bosoms, you and I are both shit out of luck there, huh? Poo.

I’m also building a bar for the librarians who will have to answer patron questions about library borrowing on the Kindle though – it’s time for more tech support! Given the strength of Amazon in that department, perhaps my alcohol budget for Tech Support Librarian will be rather modest.

Despite the limitations, though, I think this is rather awesome. Personally, I wish the book we wrote was available for borrowing digitally, but I have to say, I love what this means in terms of access to books for readers who are on a limited budget for book buying. If you’re a Kindle user, do you think you’ll take advantage of this program?


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    helen says:

    Rot. That’ll be the end of library lending of e-books from most of the big 6.

  2. 2
    Natalie L. says:

    If my local library had more than a handful of e-books, sure. They have a couple hundred and they all appear to have been bought 5 years ago and mainly deal with how to get jobs in different career fields.

  3. 3
    Brian says:

    Potentially great news for Kindle and Kindle App users.  I suppose libraries will have to buy separate Kindle copies separate from their ePub purchases which could be the only problem given the limited budgets libraries have.  There’s really no reason they couldn’t allow libraries to buy generic licenses and let patrons check out their format of choice, but somehow I’m doubtful that will happen as currently libraries have to buy each format they want (ePub, PDF, Mobi) if it’s available.

    My local library has 9,510 ebook titles (multiple copies of many) as of right now, all ePub.  I’m sure they’ll be hard pressed to keep their ePub library growing and do Kindle titles at the same rate.

  4. 4
    SWegener says:

    I was super excited when I first read the announcement, but now I have LOTS of questions.

    1. The privacy issue
    2. Will libraries have to buy a new format? (probably)
    3. Will there be different restrictions/pricing for this new format, like HC’s infamous 26 copy cap?
    4. How will this be received/implemented by libraries?

    I’m going to have to think about this more, while I drink my tech librarian drink.

  5. 5
    CupK8 says:

    I’m hoping a side effect of this will be increasing the number of library patrons at libraries that have e-lending. If the demand of e-lending increases, and the rest of the Big 6 decide to be jerks about library lending a la Macmillan, maybe they’ll actually get some backlash they can feel.

  6. 6
    SRS says:

    Is this only for the USA, or does it also apply to us in Canada (or overseas)? The library thing is the one major barrier left that is holding me back from buying a Kindle.

  7. 7
    megalith says:

    Will I take advantage of this? Oh, hell yes. I can’t wait.

  8. 8
    Suzannah says:

    I hope this comes to the UK as well.  I would definitely use it, if the library had the books, of course.  Currently mine only has about a thousand fiction books and about 600 non-fiction.  I read their ePubs on my laptop.  For smaller libraries I can see it will be expensive to buy different formats, but larger library systems (or combined systems, like the one I belong to here, where 12 boroughs have a joint catalogue, free inter-borough loans and one elibrary – maybe the way of the future?) are likely to buy more than one copy of a paper book (or at least the really popular books), and so presumably could split their ebook licences between ePub and Kindle formats.

  9. 9
    Hannah says:

    Yes, I can’t wait for the Kindle library lending feature! I have an older Pocket Sony Reader and while it has its charms, it’s not as nice as the Kindle 3. Plus I love the ability to sync library books across devices—I read a lot on the Kindle apps for PC and Ipod touch.

  10. 10
    Jan says:

    To answer your question-YES!!  My original ereader was a kindle.  Loved it then and still love it now.  However, I did buy a nook just so I could “borrow” books from our local library.  I must say our library is trying hard to get more and more titles of ebooks but not surprisingly has stated that they will no longer buy any titles from Harper Collins-imagine why??  Love these updates on ereaders and ebooks.  Keep up the good work.

  11. 11
    Patrice says:

    Yes absolutely! I still use and support my library as well as read and enjoy ebooks since 2004 (reading on my laptop or PalmTX). I only just received a Kindle for a Christmas present last year and my one regret was that I couldn’t take advantage of digital library books. This is great news.

  12. 12
    Brian says:

    According to this…

    “There will be no additional cost to acquire new files to make them compatible,”

    “The lending will be available for all generations of the Kindle as well as Kindle reading apps, and it will integrate with all the existing ebook catalogs in the United States powered by OverDrive. In other words, the libraries—including schools, colleges and public libraries—will not have to add a new format, and the ebooks now available on the OverDrive sites will be immediately integrated with the Kindle,”

  13. 13
    Bea says:

    I’m very excited! I hope my library wil be one of the 11,000 particiapnts :)

  14. 14
    Chelsea says:

    I gotta give Amazon credit, they really try not to screw people over. No system is perfect, but I’m still going to be cautiously optimistic about this.

  15. 15
    Sandir says:

    I don’t think anyone will be SOL fortunately. This Ebook Lending Library Wiki offers state by state listings of libraries that have ebooks.

    Many larger state libraries will allow state residents to access their ebook collections for free and there are other libraries such as the Free Library of Philadelphia that offer non-residents the chance to get a card to access their collection. (Currently $35 but free for those over 65.)

    I really see this as a boon for libraries. I’m curious to see how HarperCollins (wants strict library lending limits on ebooks) and Macmillan and Simon & Schuster (won’t allow their ebooks to be lent by libraries) react.

  16. 16
    LG says:

    Makes me wish academic libraries weren’t in the Dark Ages as far as e-books go. We have tens of thousands of e-books, and every single one of them can only be accessed and read on a computer. Supposedly one of our providers will be making downloadable ebooks available (they were talking EPUB only, but I wonder if Kindle versions are now a possibility?), but they would cost more, so we’d get fewer books for the same amount of money. I, personally, think the trade-off would be worth it.

  17. 17
    Rachel says:

    Yes! This is awesome!  I’m just wondering, though, when they say “later in the year,” are we talking June/July later or December 31st later?

  18. 18
    Courtney says:

    Personally, I am THRILLED to bits! I love my Kindle and have always been frustrated I couldn’t use my library’s ebook catalog. Hooray!

  19. 19

    I think it’s an awesome idea and one that most readers will pick up on and love.  The bugs will have to be worked out but that’s to be expected.  The more I travel actually the more Kindle users I see.  A lot of times if they’re women I thank them (as they could be potential readers) and hand them a business card that says I write erotic romance!

  20. 20
    Josie says:

    I have to run right out and ask my library if is it one of the 11,000. Hooray!

  21. 21
    Danielle says:

    SRS & Suzannah—sadly, no, this is only for U.S. libraries. I was really excited about the announcement until I saw that part… not looking forward to explaining it to our eager patrons.

  22. 22
    Carin says:

    While I’m excited for library access (yay!)  I have a Sony ereader and I wonder if this is the end of my library carrying ePub.  I think Kindle is more popular, and Kindle won’t play with ePub… so does that mean my already small eLibrary will have to spread their money between two formats?  Boo.

  23. 23
    Anony Miss says:

    Squee! Squee!

  24. 24
    bungluna says:

    Since I do most of my reading through library or booksfree loans, I won’t buy an e-reader until I get mass access to books through one of there outlets.  So count me as one of the squee brigade, hoping Amazon’s move prods everybody into providen access to e-books through my library.  I’ll buy the bestest Kindle I can get!

  25. 25
    Kerry D. says:

    According to comments on Twitter, it’s US only so that makes me SOL too. Bah, as our library has finally introduced ebook lending.

  26. 26
    Beki Adkins says:

    Sandir, THANK YOU for the link!  I’ve been meaning to look into this for some time now, since my own local library is inadequately stocked with ereads of any kind.  I love my Nook, though, and I continue to hope that technological boundaries continue to be broken piece by piece until we can all ready whatever we damn well please, bought or borrowed from wherever we damn well please, whenever we damn well want to! 

    little squee in solidarity with Kindle-lovers.

    boys65?  No thanks.  One is plenty for me.

  27. 27
    Jen B. says:

    I am so excited about this.  No more lost library books that my kids complain about when I make them pay for them!  Yay!  Plus, I will be able to introduce my kids to all sorts of authors.  I have tried that with paper books and it was just so difficult because the books were always already checked out.

  28. 28
    Jen B. says:

    @Jen B. I don’t want to say don’t be excited, but the hold lists on the digital library I have access to are MUCH longer than the print library hold list.  And the number of books in the elibrary is much, much, much smaller.  Here’s hoping all that will change.

  29. 29
    Sybylla says:

    Hells yes!

  30. 30
    Rhonda says:

    All I can is is AWESOME!!!!

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