Amazon launches library lending for Kindle

Faith Merino · April 20, 2011 · Short URL:

Library patrons can borrow digital books from their local libraries and read them on their Kindle

It looks like Amazon has finally addressed the one major contradiction facing the Kindle. In short, when you’re an avid reader and you’re not in a high income tax bracket, you can’t afford to pay for a new book every week, which could potentially add up to $60 a month or more. Over the course of one year, that could total more than $700, which SOME of us need to pay rent and buy food. Personally, I don’t remember the last time I paid full price for a book from Amazon, Borders, or Barnes & Noble, save for when I was in grad school and had to track down hard-to-find books. I get virtually all of my reading material from libraries and used book stores, which is why I don’t have a Kindle.

But Amazon is addressing that very issue now with the launch of its new Library Lending feature that will allow Kindle users to borrow digital books from over 11,000 libraries across the country. The feature will be available for all generations of the Kindle.  

And users don't necessarily have to have a Kindle to check out Kindle books from their local library. They can also read borrowed e-books on the free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

The feature is sure to appeal to library patrons even more than the regular library service, as borrowed Kindle books can be annotated and highlighted for the borrower’s own reference, without showing up the book after it is “returned” to the library.  

“We're doing a little something extra here,” said Kindle Director Jay Marine in a statement. “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.”

To roll out the new feature, Amazon is partnering with OverDrive, a digital content solutions provider for 11,000 libraries throughout the United States. 

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