Kindle Library Lending now live (11,000 libraries have Kindle Library Lending)

Kindle Library Lending is now live and available at 11,000 libraries in the US.

Amazon’s Kindle Library Lending Page.

They have some basic instructions which can be summarized as -

  1. Visit the website of a US Library that offers OverDrive digital ebook loans.
  2. Check out a Kindle book (they mean an ebook). You must have a valid library card.
  3. Then you will get a page that has a button that says ‘Get for Kindle’. Press that button and you will have to sign-in to your Amazon account and will then be able to have the book you just got on loan from the library sent to your Kindle or to your Kindle Reading App.
  4. The books are transferred wirelessly only over WiFi. If you don’t have WiFi access you have to do a download to your PC and transfer via USB cable.

Do you have more Questions about Kindle Library Lending?

Amazon has a Help section for Kindle Library Lending now live.

There are some interesting details on Kindle Library Lending including -

  1. You can view status of public library books from the Manage Your Kindle page.
  2. Wireless delivery is only via WiFi.
  3. Library Books can be sent to any Kindle or to any Kindle reading app. It’s not clear whether they can be read on multiple devices in parallel.
  4. Three days before a book loan ends you will be notified via email.
  5. Length of the ebook loan will vary by library. As will the range of ebooks available.

It’s understandable that Amazon wouldn’t subsidize 3G wireless for a free library book. That would just kill it in terms of bandwidth costs – especially given that it’s making zero money from a free library book and thus has nothing it can use to subsidize bandwidth costs.

What if your local library doesn’t support OverDrive?

Update: Library of Philadelphia (for $40) and Library of Fulton County, GA (for $35) allows non-residents to get membership. Thanks to Brian and Caroline for the information.

Well, there are some libraries such as (supposedly) the Library of Pittsburgh that allow membership even for non-residents of the city/state. For around $40 you can get a year’s membership. Please leave a comment if you know of any other libraries that allow this. To the best of my knowledge Seattle Library allows membership for anyone living close to Seattle.

It’s a huge feature addition. Library book support on the Kindle is more meaningful to most users than ePub support or touch or animated page turns. It’ll be interesting to see what effect it has on the race to zero that ebook prices are currently seeing. Kindle Library Lending might be the straw that breaks the ‘Publishing as a Viable Industry’ Camel’s back.

23 Responses

  1. Fulton County, GA has a yearly fee for non-residents that’s only $40, and they support overdrive.

  2. The Free Library of Philidelphia allows non-residents to get a card for US$35 a year. Not sure if it’s only for US residents or what. Just tried their Overdrive section and Kindle books are indeed there. Checked one out and got it on my Kindle with no problems!

  3. Where’s a list of Overdrive libraries?

  4. My library has a grand total of 9 Kindle books available. It is a start and I am looking forward to more books in the future since most of the books I read are still sold for the full paperback price of $7.99 in the Kindle store on Amazon. This pricing holds for old titles as well.

  5. Evansville, Indiana, Public Library (EVPL) has this now. It is a great service and I just checked out two books I had wanted to read. So far, 25 minutes, it’s worked well.

    This is a major major feature for Amazon to offer. I love my Kindle even more.

  6. Bucks County Library in PA – Kindle books now available. At least one of the books on my wish list was available as a Kindle book and took just minutes to “borrow” it. It is now on my Kindle. Our library has an option of either 7 or 14 days to “borrow” book – either Kindle/epub/PDF or audio.

  7. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (NC) has a non-resident card for $45 per year – ouch. I haven’t used their Overdrive section yet.

    • Meg,

      Would you believe that when I moved to Charlotte 36 years ago, the library did not have library cards? I grew up in a small town in NJ that had library cards before I was born, but Charlotte had nothing. I had to fill out slips of paper with book info, name, address, etc. for books that I wanted to check out.

      I can’t remember when they first issued cards, but it has been 20+ years ago.

  8. San Diego Public Library supports Overdrive and has a Non-resident annual fee for a library card at $30. Only problem is that you need to get your permanent card at one of their libraries to use the service and they do not mail it out to you.

  9. Neat!
    But ultimately not helpful – You still have to get on a waiting list to read the titles that are popular…

    I always thought one of the attractions of having digital media is that I can get it immediately, without physically going to the bookstore or library. Having antiquated limited distribution policies for digital media does not make this appealing.
    The only difference is now I can be on a waiting list for an eBook instead of a wait list for a paper book.
    Why can they not let everyone have the ebook simultaneously? (The DRM will still expire the ebook in two weeks)

  10. That was a rather quick rollout from a single library pilot to the whole country.

  11. The Charlotte Mecklenburg County NC Library (which is a large system) does not offer books for loan in Kindle format. Apparently, the announcement meant that 11,000 libraries will be getting Kindle lending copies, but most do not have them yet. In fact, one press article that I found said that in the entire state of Utah only the Salt Lake County library has kindle lending library books.

    I have been hunting all over the Charlotte Mecklenburg County library’s website and came up with nothing. I’ve sent an e-mail asking when we (in Charlotte) will be able to check out Kindle format books and will post the information when I get a reply.

    Charlotte has over 1,000 e-books for borrowing but none are in Kindle format. For those e-books, the library owns at the most 2 or 3 copies of the e-book. Most of the books have no copies available for check out. Most of the ones that do have copies available are Disney books for kids and those are only available for reading online.

    For now, the Char Meck library is a non-starter when it comes to checking out books in Kindle format.

    • This is the response that I received from Char Meck Library staff:

      “We are not sure yet. Amazon made their announcement before they had fully integrated all libraries. We are hoping it will be soon, and it could be as soon as within the next couple of weeks, but it may be as late as December. As soon as they have transitioned to work with us, there will be a banner announcement on our website. I apologize for the delay.”

  12. Monroe County (Rochester, NY) allows non resident membership for 35 per year.

  13. Peoria IL library has 772 Kindle books available. Many I’ve never heard of, but it’ll get better! And I downloaded the book I borrowed to 3 of my devices, so not sure what the limit is! Yay!!!!

  14. Race to zero is great for readers but the stream of new books will soon clamp to a trickle, as professional authors will not be “professional” anymore. When you can check out a free book from anywhere int he country, the value of that book is zero to a publisher. Hard to predict the future of this–short term looks like a boom but soon libraries will be stocked and the bookstore won’t be.

    Scott Nicholson

  15. The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County (NC) Public Library now has kindle books!!! I found the announcement below on the library’s home page.

    “We’re excited to announce that Charlotte Mecklenburg Library’s eBook collection is now compatible with the world’s bestselling eBook reader, the Amazon® Kindle. Now you can download popular and classic eBooks to a Kindle device or any mobile device running the free Kindle app, such as iPhone®, iPad®, Android™, and more. We have 582 Kindle titles currently in our collection, and we’ll be adding more. To start downloading, grab your library card and visit http://downloads.cmlibrary.org.”

  16. Comments on borrowing Kindle books from the Char Meck library…

    Like most ebooks in libraries, there are few available copies. I searched by “only show books available” (or some such that’s a rough paraphrase). When I tried to download my first book, there was no download link. I was using Chrome. I changed to IE and it worked perfectly. I borrowed books by two of my favorite Christian authors.

    They also have books by David Baldacci, Danielle Steel, Debbie Macomber just to name a few.

    By default, the length of loan is 14 days. 7 days and 21 days are the other options. The download was from Amazon. Borrowed books showed up in Manage My Kindle boldly labeled as being public library books.

    The Kindle part of the site was easy to navigate and it worked well once I changed to IE. I was impressed by the variety of titles and authors offered. It will only get better as more books get added.

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