Amazon to Allow Kindle eBook Lending

Amazon recently posted an announcement in their Kindle community about two new features coming soon. What’s getting everyone’s attention is the news that they will be introducing lending for Kindle later this year. This will allow Kindle users to loan an ebook to a fellow Kindle user for a period of 14 days. The downside is that publishers have control over which books will be lendable, so this feature will only be available for certain books.

Here’s the full message from Amazon:

We wanted to let you know about two new features coming soon.

First, we are making Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on our free Kindle apps, so you can always read Kindle periodicals even if you don’t have your Kindle with you or don’t yet own a Kindle. In the coming weeks, many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and then we’ll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road. Our vision is Buy Once, Read Everywhere, and we’re excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks.

Second, later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.

We will post to the forum later this year when these features are available.

So the way I read this is that you can only lend each book once and only for a period of 14 days. And just like a real book, the lender won’t be able to read the book while it’s being borrowed. Personally, I’m excited about this news. Barnes & Noble already has a similar feature for Nook users, so I think it’s about time Amazon offered this too. What do you think? Will this make Kindle ebooks seem more like “real” books? Will publishers allow their content to be shared?

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