Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is Amazon's Kindle Owner's Lending Library a good thing?

In my last blog, I mentioned downloading a book from the Amazon Kindle Owner's Lending Library. This is a new feature offered to Amazon Prime members. Until today, I only knew how to access the Lending Library via my Kindle, but you can use the links above to reach the web version.

How does it work? Members of the Amazon Prime program who own a Kindle device can borrow up to one book per month from a select set of titles (currently 5,375). One book a month doesn't sound like much, particularly as someone who used to walk out of the library with a stack of six to eight books, but even my limited browsing of the available titles has shown a few that would have saved me (or those on my account) the purchase price.

This new option will let me try titles that I might not have purchased otherwise. My first borrow, The Nighttime Novelist, would have cost $10.79 as a Kindle edition. I tend to stick with ebooks that cost about the same as a paperback, if not less, so that's a price I'm usually not willing to pay.

The Amazon Kindle Owner's Lending Library has not been greeted with much love by the press. (Here's a example in the Wall Street Journal: "Amazon's Library Donation.") People are saying that it’s bad for investors, publishers, authors, agents, and Amazon. Predictions say that it will die by the end of the year.

Personally, I think that Amazon knows what it's doing. In the years (more than a dozen) that Amazon has been earning my loyalty, I have seen the company go from a small book seller to giant purveyor of nearly everything imaginable. They even make and sell their own line of reading devices, which now includes a multi-media platform in the Kindle Fire. As a bibliophile and writer, I can well imagine the excitement of personally making your dream device a reality.

As an author, I am glad that Amazon continues to return to its roots as a seller of books. I never considered indiependent publishing until I realized the opportunities given by book-lovers who are reading on their Kindles every day. Once I found an editor who could help me achieve the clean copy that is so important, I was sold. I would be glad to see Dormant gain additional exposure via Amazon's Lending Library.

Instead of going into more detail on the subject of the Kindle Owner's Lending Library and why it is a good thing, I'll leave you with this question.... What do you think? Is Amazon's continued expansion as a purveyor of electronic offerings good for you as a customer? What about those in other roles? If you wear more than one hat in the debate, please share!

For those who want more detail, I refer you to a fellow blogger who has one of the best in-depth discussions on the topic that I have seen thus far: Amazon’s Prime Lending Library has them in a tizzy…but it makes sense.


  1. I like it personally. For example, I wouldn't have bought "The Hunger Games" e-book. But I did want to check it out to see what the fuss was about. The author and the publisher wouldn't have made any money from me. But the lending library works great for me to see if it is worth the trouble. And if I do like it, I am more likely to actually invest money in the book(s).

  2. Amy: The Lending Library is a great way to check out new authors, particularly when you're not sure if you actually want to own the book. I read "The Hunger Games" series. They were very quick reads. I read them based on a recommendation and the interesting premise, but I could have done without some of the game details, and Katniss is rather dense at times. The first book was the best, so feel free to stop there if you don't have to know what happens to her.