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Amazon introduces Kindle ebook lending

Amazon Kindle

After years of requests from customers, Amazon.com has introduced Kindle ebook lending as a kind of New Years’ Eve gift to Kindle customers. Via the feature, Kindle book owners will be able to share selected Kindle titles with others for 14 days—lenders just need to enter the name and email address of the person to whom they’d like to lend the book. Borrowers don’t have to own a Kindle to read the book—they can take advantage of one of the free Amazon Kindle apps for computers and mobile devices.

Kindle ebook lending is currently only available to Kindle customers in the United States, and is only available on a title-by-title basis: publishers can choose whether their books are eligible for lending.

Just like handing a physical book over to a friend for a couple weeks, the original owner of a loaned Kindle ebook cannot access the title while it’s away. If a user finishes with a book before the loan period ends, they can return it early using the “Your Orders” section of “Manage Your Kindle.”

The Kindle community has long wished for a way to lend books, and while letting publishers determine whether a book can be lended on a title-by-title basis isn’t exactly the same as being able to hand a physical book to anyone you like, it may prove a valuable tool to introduce new customers to the Kindle ecosystem. Not that Amazon seems to need much help there: they say the Kindle is its best-selling gadget of all time.