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.


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