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Website creates a virtual library to lend Kindle books

KindleLendingClub.com provides a platform to browse, lend and request hundreds of thousands of Kindle ebook titles. When the site connects a book borrower and lender, the borrower can download the title to her Kindle reader, smartphone, iPad or PC within seconds. The service is entirely free for both lenders and borrowers and the book is automatically returned to its owner after 14 days. KindleLendingClub.com is, in effect, a crowdsourced virtual lending library.

Amazon rolled out Kindle’s new book lending feature on December 30, 2010. Kindle owner and KindleLendingClub.com founder Catherine MacDonald heard about Kindle book lending in response created a community on Facebook where people could meet to lend and borrow. The Facebook community immediately caught on like wildfire, attracting hundreds of people, and Catherine realized that this demand for a way to easily borrow and lend ebooks online warranted a custom-developed web application; KindleLendingClub.com was born. In public beta for just over a week, the website is already serving 7,000+ people and it has facilitated 2,500+ book loans.

The site is still very much in beta and has a few kinks to work out. The selection is limited, but the site has been live less than a month, and we’d expect to see the selection and variety grow over time as the idea of sharing e-books with strangers kicks off.

The Amazon Kindle lending program only permits an owner to lend a copy of any given ebook once, ever, and only for a maximum of 14 days. Book borrowers who do not want to wait their turn to borrow a popular title, who want to reread or refer back to a book, or who just don’t have time to finish reading the book are likely to buy, she says. “I recently borrowed Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Freedom’ and I just didn’t have time to finish it. Now I’m going to have to purchase my own copy.”