As we have previously reviewed here on MUO, the Kindle e-reading app is available for all major devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Android, and the Blackberry. Kindle e-books can even be read on the Mac and PC. The price of Amazon e-books are still relatively great value, but now with their e-book lending feature, the service is even more attractive.
How It Works
Basically, all your purchased Kindle e-books in your Kindle library can be loaned out, but unfortunately only if the publisher of an e-book makes it lendable. So far out of the 15 purchased e-books in my Kindle library, only three are lendable. But I”˜m sure more publishers will come on board with this service in the coming months.
When you link to your Kindle Library on Amazon, you can click on the + button of each of your Kindle e-books to see if they are available for loan.
Likewise, when you browse for e-books on the Kindle Store, it will also indicate if the e-book is lendable.
The other caveat to this service is that Kindle e-books can only be loaned out for 14 days.
The recipient of your lendable e-book does not have to own a Kindle. The e-books can also be read on other devices as stated above. However, the borrower of the e-book must already be or become an Amazon member to access the loaned e-book.
Loaning An E-Book
When you’re ready to loan one of your e-books, simply click on the “Loan this book” button, and the resulting lending details will appear.
The recipient of the loan has up to 7 days to accept the loan, and only 14 days to keep the loaned e-book for reading purposes. While your e-book is loaned out, you don’t have access to read it, which is basically the same as loaning out a paper book.
Additionally, when your e-book is on loan, all your annotations for the e-book are not visible to the borrower. Making annotations visible or not should be a preference option, as I could imagine sharing annotations could be a great study tool between two people sharing an e-book. The borrower can also make annotations in the e-book which are not visible to the lender. According to Amazon, “if a borrower purchases the same title after the loan has ended, any notes and highlights made in the loaned book will be retained in the purchased version“.
You can of course view the status of your loans from your Kindle library, by again clicking the + symbol next to the title and viewing the details of the e-books you have loaned or borrowed. You will also receive notifications about the status of your loaned and borrowed e-books.
While 14 days is a relatively short time to loan out a book, unlike with paper books you will at least get your book back in a reasonable time. Of course there should also be an option to pass along e-books to someone indefinitely, as can be done with paper books.
Amazon also says “Kindle book lending can only be initiated by customers residing in the United States. If a loan is initiated to a customer outside the United States, the borrower may not be able to accept the loan if the title is not available in their country due to publisher geographical rights“.
Finding Lendable E-Books
If you don’t have a few friends to lend or borrow e-books, you might consider joining one of several social networking sites for book readers.
You could go through your list of e-books to see which are available, tag them as lendable, and create a link to your list for others to view.
A few groups on Facebook, such as this one and , have already been set up for lendable books as well. I’m sure that soon some enterprising web developers will be creating entire websites based on this and other e-book lending services.
There’s much to be desired about Amazon’s e-book lending feature. You should, for example, be able to initiate the lending process from within the Kindle reader or a Kindle e-reading application.
Let us know what you think about this feature. Have you tried it yet? What do you like about it, and what’s missing?