Kindle to get lending feature just like Nook – sometime in 2010

Your Kindle 3 and your other Kindles will soon get a Nook LendMe type feature that lets you lend books once. The key details –

  1. Each book can be lent only once.  
  2. The loan can be for a maximum of 14 days.
  3. You can’t read your book while you’ve lent it.
  4. Publishers determine if books are lendable.
  5. Feature arrives sometime in 2010.

An official announcement at the kindle forum about the new Kindle Lending feature –

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.

It’s a rather limited feature – Guess Amazon has grown tired of people thinking Nook allows ‘ebook lending’ when it’s a severely limited and rather unhelpful feature. Their solution – introduce an equally limited and equally pointless lending feature.

Thanks to CrunchGear for catching the news.

Kindle newspapers and magazines available on Kindle Apps

The other news in the announcement is that Kindle for Android, Kindle for iPhone, and other Kindle apps will in the near future become capable of delivering newspapers and magazines.

Here’s what Amazon has to say –

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.

It clearly seems that Amazon is selling more books via Kindle for iPad and Kindle for iPhone than via Kindle for Android. There’s no other reason why it would start magazine delivery on the iWhatever apps and leave out Android (at least initially).

In the thread people are pointing out that the lack of support for library books is a bigger issue than the two listed above and that’s a very valid point. There are also comments about the prices of magazine and newspaper subscriptions beginning to veer into Cuckoo-Land and that’s another valid point.

Libraries lending out Kindle

This is a list of libraries that are lending out Kindles and setting a great precedent. There’s also a discussion of Amazon’s stance on Libraries lending Kindles at the end.

Libraries lending out Kindles

Every once in a while an article will release about a library that is loaning out Kindles. The perception is that this is rare. Thought it would be fun to list out every library using a Kindle and see whether there’s a trend developing.

All these libraries, and the people in charge, deserve kudos for pushing the boundaries. This is based on just 1-2 hrs research so its just the tip of the iceberg –

  1. North Carolina State University Library has 18 Kindles, 12 Kindle 2s, 2 Sony Readers, and blogs regularly about them. They were one of the trailblazers.
  2. Mary White, Director of Howe Library in Hanover, NH – The Kindle Library Loaning Page. Lending out Kindles since Jan 14th, 2009.
  3. The CRISS Library at the University of Nebraska Omaha has 9 Kindles for lending. Thanks to Julie for the update.
  4. University of Alabama are lending out 12 kindles each in Gorgas, Bruno, and Rodgers Libraries.
  5. Sparta Public Library in Sparta, NJ have 2 Kindles for lending.  
  6. LaCrosse Public Library lends out 1 Kindle. 
  7. Rancho Mirage Public Library lends out Kindles, although its unclear whether its internally or patrons can take them home.
  8. Texas A&M University Libraries have 18 Kindles (add your name to the waiting list here) –

    University Libraries staff at Texas A&M have been lending 18 of the compact devices for four months.

  9. Sawyer Library at Suffolk University has acquired 4 Kindle 2s, and lends them out for up to 28 days at a time (wow!).  
  10. River Forest Public Library in River Forest, Illinois has a Kindle lending program (5 Kindles). Thanks to Mary for the update.
  11. The Gardner-Harvey Library of Miami University Middletown lends out Kindles.
  12. The Hawthorne-Longfellow Library at Bowdoin University has started lending out 4 Kindles and 1 Sony.
  13. Frank L. Weyenberg Library of Mequon lends out 3 Kindles.
  14. Palm Beach Community College lend out a Kindle and even have a blog for it.
  15. Madison High School Library received a Kindle 2 via a grant and lends it out.
  16. Jackson Library at Stanford has a kindle you can test drive if you are at Stanford.
  17. An article in a local newspaper (which is now untraceable) that had a librarian talking about his library as the 2nd library in that particular state to lend out Kindles.  
  18. From the comments in Rochelle’s blog there seem to be 3 additional libraries lending out Kindles and seeing lots of demand (there might be overlap with the list above).  

Does your library lend out a kindle? Do leave a comment so we can add your library to the list.  

There is also a Facebook Group of organizations and libraries lending Kindles. Half or so of the libraries found were via this group.

As far as Sony –

  1. Broward County Library is lending out 13 Sony Readers.
  2. Joe Wikert had blogged about Sony giving Penn State Libraries 100 Sony Readers. Wow!

Also, BYU University suspended their Kindle lending program today –

The Lee Library announced the pilot program to faculty members on June 5, but a story in the Library Journal last week put the program in the spotlight.

“Hotdog, someone has started a much needed plan to get ebooks part of the ILL program,” Sue Polanka, head of reference at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, wrote in her blog, “No Shelf Required.” But she warned, “Verbal permission was given from Amazon, nothing in writing. Highly recommended to speak with Amazon before you delve into loaning out Kindles.”

Gerrit Van Dyk of BYU Library also talks about it at his blog, Shaping Libraries. They were only lending it out to faculty. They had verbal confirmation of sorts. However, they didn’t want to proceed until they had 100% approval. So they stopped it.

It would be a rather boring world if everyone waited for permission, let alone written permission, before doing things.

Makes the initiative the libraries on the list are taking even cooler.

Amazon’s official stance on Libraries lending out Kindles

Amazon’s stance as far as lending out Kindles seems to be –

You can lend Kindles. However, turn off the account so library patrons can’t download additional titles.

They do not give this in writing, however, and its scared off some libraries like the BYU one above.

This is a supposed snippet from an Amazon email (courtesy Rochelle’s blog) –

Greetings from

Thank you for contacting Kindle. We appreciate your interest in using the Amazon Kindle in your Library.

We have reviewed through our Terms and Conditions regarding this matter and the Amazon Kindle. You will be able to purchase Kindles for your library to use for checking out to patrons, as long as you are not reselling the digital content.

One thing we recommend however is that once you have transfered your content that you unregisterthe device through the settings menu on the Kindle. This is because once the device is registered you may make purchases to the default card on the account with out having to log in, and thus preventing a patron from making an accidental purchase on your account.

Should you lend out Kindles at Your Library?

If you are considering lending out Kindles, you can reach Amazon at 1-866-321-8851 and ask for yourself.

  1. As the list above should make obvious, a LOT of Libraries are lending out Kindles.
  2. Main stream media and even the blogs that discuss this are not doing their research and claiming that just a few libraries are lending Kindles.
  3. It took me an hour or so of searching to find 14+ libraries lending kindles. There are probably dozens more, perhaps even hundreds of libraries, lending out Kindles. People have added 2 more libraries to the list in just the first 4-5 days.
  4. My opinion is that you should go ahead and lend out Kindles.
  5. Its great for users and Amazon has bigger things to worry about (Apple, Google, Publishers) than libraries giving it free publicity and reinforcing its brand.

Amazon really cannot come out and say Yes and give it to you in writing because publishers (the same publishers who attacked the text to speech feature) will sue them or do something similarly stupid.