Amazon cuts e-book sharer, Lendle; UPDATE: Lendle is back

lendleThat was quick. After a mere two months, Amazon is already cutting its e-book sharing service Lendle. After users begged and pleaded for some feature allowing them to lend books, Amazon finally introduced a lending service. While it had some strings attached (you could only loan out a title for 14 days and could not be also reading it), it was something users pined for.

Lendle was an application that synced to a user’s Kindle account and kept a running list of books you’d completed reading that were available for lending purposes. You were able to browse the collective lists of Kindle users and send requests to borrow e-books, and vice versa.

The e-book share-aggregator posted to its Twitter early this morning that “Amazon has revoked Lendle’s API access. This is why the site is down. It’s sad and unfortunate that Amazon is shutting down Lending sites.” According to Lendle, Amazon determined to cut the program because it didn’t “serve the principle purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.” Which sounds to us like Lendle was making it too easy for Kindle users to avoid buying e-books altogether, preferring to troll the Kindle community for new titles. And this is where all the aggravation with digital booksellers comes in: Just like you would in the actual store, you’re forking over money for a book. But when you buy via Kindle, you don’t actually own it or can do what you want with it.

Apparently, the small amount of control Lendle was giving Kindle users was too much for amazing. According to Lendle, Amazon sent the company its walking papers via a “no reply” e-mail address, and has failed to respond to questions from the company.

Lendle creator Jeff Croft recently insisted to the Wall Street Journal that his business did profit Amazon. “People are saying I borrowed a book and I bought it because I didn’t finish it,” he said. “That seems to be happening a lot.” Amazon’s lending service for e-books is still alive and kicking, but now users won’t have a digital library to ask for loans from.


[Update]

We received an e-mail from Lendle creator Jeff Croft this morning telling us Lendle is now back online and referring us to his company’s statement. Read below:

We’re thrilled to report that Amazon has reinstated our api access, and Lendle is back up and running. Welcome back, Lendlers!

Late today, we received an email from an Associates Account Specialist at Amazon informing us that their concern only relates to our Book Sync tool, which syncs a user’s Kindle books with their Lendle account. Amazon informed us that if we disabled this feature, our access to the api, as well as our Amazon Associates account, would be reinstated. We appreciate Amazon’s willingness to modify the position stated in the original access revocation email and work with us to get Lendle back on line. We have complied with the request to disable the Book Sync tool (which was a very useful, but non-essential, feature of Lendle).

We’ve learned a lot through this process, and have come to realize we need to work towards a Lendle product that does not rely on APIs provided by Amazon or any other third party. To that end, we’ve already begun brainstorming the next version of Lendle. Suffice it to say, we’ll continue to make good on our promise to keep Lendle the easiest, fastest, fairest, and best way to lend and borrow Kindle books.

We’re excited to be back and anxious to serve our amazing community, whose generous support no doubt played a large role getting Lendle back up and running. We can’t thank you enough.

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