I have written before about libraries lending books at no charge to Kindle owners. 11,000 participating libraries are now lending the books. You can see my earlier articles at http://goo.gl/xnzCY and http://goo.gl/TEsDs.
If your local library is not participating, you now have another option: starting this week, Amazon is also lending books directly to Kindle owners without requiring a library card or any other form of library membership. You do have to shell out $79 per year for an Amazon Prime subscription, however. Actually, there are several good reasons why you might want to pay for an Amazon Prime subscription besides book lending privileges, such as lower shipping charges on Amazon.com purchases and downloadable videos. The Kindle Owner's Lending Library is simply a new addition to the list of services available to those who pay for Amazon Prime.
According to Amazon, users will be able to electronically "borrow" up to one book per month and "return" it whenever they please—there is no rush to return your book in 10 days. However, users can only take out one book at a time. The list of available books is also smaller than that offered by most participating libraries. Borrowers can keep a book for as long as they like, but when they borrow a new title, the previously-borrowed book automatically disappears from their device.
Another restriction is that the Lending Library won't be accessible from Amazon's many Kindle apps for other platforms such as iOS, Android, and BlackBerry—it's restricted to hardware Kindles only.
For the time being, I suspect most readers will want to borrow from a wider variety of Kindle books by borrowing from their own local libraries. Even better, borrowing from your local library is usually free of charge. However, Amazon's new $79/year service does provide an alternative path for those who cannot find a nearby participating library.
You can read more in an article by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Stu Woo in the Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204621904577014273003626952.html.
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