“Hey guy, can I borrow your copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?”
“Um, no. I bought it for the Kindle.”
“Well then, what about…?”
“Alright, I’ll be at the Library talking to that cute girl.”
I’ve had a Kindle for about eight months now. I love it, it’s handy, and certainly saves a lot of space around the home office. However, something has always annoyed me about their product. You see, I love reading, talking about what I’ve read, and loaning out my favourite books to friends so they can enjoy them too. Hard to do with a Kindle though. At least ’til now.
Amazon has finally jumped on the bandwagon and relaxed their proprietary rules (somewhat). Was it pressure from Google books? Are they feeling the heat from Sony’s eReader? Honestly, who cares? It’s just nice to know that Kindle readers can now share content with their friends. As an aside, it’s also a great marketing tool for Amazon!
For their part, Amazon has made lending an book very similar to the library experience. The lender can send an eBook to a friend for a period of two weeks, after which the recipient can no longer access the book. Also, the lender of an eBook cannot access that book on their Kindle during the same time frame, just as if you were to physically loan out a book to a friend.
How does the recipient access their friend’s book? Just download the Kindle app to your digital product of choice, whether iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry or PC/Mac. The lender goes through a relatively simple process on their Kindle, and voila, they’ve loaned a book.
There are a couple of caveats:
Not all books are eligible to be loaned. Amazon has left it up to the individual publishers to decide whether their material can be lent.
To read a loaned book, you must have the Kindle app. (However, since it’s free, it shouldn’t be a big deal to download to whatever device you choose).
As of right now (January 2011), the lending option is only available in the United States.
Apparently the rest of the World will have to wait a bit longer. Hmmph!