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How To Lend A Kindle Book

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Buy a Kindle, you won't be sorry

When I heard that Amazon was introducing a sharing feature for the Kindle, the world swam before my eyes and I nearly fainted. The possibilities! Of course, the deal was not quite as sweet as I had hoped, but I’m willing to give it some time and see what happens. Today I want to give a brief introduction and get you bookworms learning how to lend a Kindle book.

The idea is that sharing Kindle books would work identically to taking a physical book off your shelf, putting it in a friend’s hand, and agreeing that they could only have it for 14 days. And of course, while they had it, you would not be able to read it, because it would not be present on your own device.

And it works smoothly. The only trouble is, not all books are available for lending. Amazon never once promised that they would offer all, or even most books, for Kindle lending, but I didn’t know that at the time while I celebrated.

But before I get any further into the “How many books are available for Kindle lending?” discussion, I’ll walk you through the process itself, which is very easy.

How to share a book on the Kindle

Log in to your Amazon account.

From your account settings, go to the Digital Content tab.

From Digital Content, you can see a link for Manage my Kindle, assuming that you have bought and registered one.

On the next screen you will see the books in your own Kindle Library.

Each book listed has a menu of actions that can be taken for that particular book, such as deleting the title, transfering it to a computer, and when the book is eligible, you’ll see the option loan this title.

If that option is not there, you can’t loan it, and nobody else out there is loaning it to anyone else either. The decision to make a Kindle book loanable belongs to the publisher.

Actually sharing the book

For titles that can be shared, it’s reallyeasy at this point. Say that you asked me to loan you my copy of The Innocents Abroad.  When I click on loan this title, the next screen asks me to input your name and email address. Then after I send it, you’ll get a link letting you know that I have shared it with you, and how to put it on your Kindle.

Options

The Innocents Abroad is one of the few books in my collection that is available for sharing. But is is a free Kindle book in the first place, so you wouldn’t really need me to lend it to you if the most attractive aspect of the sharing feature was that you thought it could save you money.

But I guess if I had your email address, I had read the book, and I wanted to surprise you with it, this would be a way I could bring it to your attention. Then you could drop everything for 14 days and read it just to make me feel generous, I suppose.

I have other free Mark Twain books that are not available to lend. Ditto with the Tolstoy and Nietzche books I have on my Kindle. I have George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, and they’re not available.

Allowing people to lend books has the potential to make publishers less money, so the likelihook of every book every being offered is highly unlikely. And I’m sure there are more reasons than I know, but I’m assuming that for most people interesting in loaning books, they’ve got saving money on their mind as well.

Finding lendable Kindle books

First, check your own Kindle library. You can’t loan something you haven’t downloaded.

The Amazon Kindle blog states that you can see whether a book is shareable from the title’s product page, but I don’t see that option on the product page unless I have downloaded it. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

Goodreads Kindle Lending group

This is a cool idea. A group of people I think I’ll get along with well are pooling their resources on this sharing group. They can list which books they have to lend, and send requests to each other.

I was planning on starting something similar here before I saw that group, but I think they’re doing it as well as it can possibly be done, so I encourage you to check it out.

If any of you other Kindle users have tips, resources, or questions, please put them in the comments for others to find.

My own library is pretty small right now, but when it is larger I’ll be putting all of my lendable books up so that you can request them if you’re interested.

And if you would ever like me to review something and want to lend it to me, contact me and let me know.

How to loan a Kindle book and/or how to loan books on Kindle.  Simple, easy, and hopefully there will be more books with the option soon.

Josh

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Beatriz Alemar August 6, 2011, 10:50 am

    Thank you for sharing the Goodreads Kindle sharing group! So far, I’ve been using Lendle.me (which is worth checking out), but it’s always nice to find more options. 🙂

  • Laree Draper August 7, 2011, 9:46 am

    Ebook lending options will grow, but it’ll take time for authors and publishers to wrap their heads around it. We have to move from the piracy image of people passing around our stuff for free to the idea of friends spreading the word about our books. People who enjoy a book they borrow are likely to either buy a copy for their libraries, or if not that, they’ll at least suggest their favorite borrowed books to others. It’s going to work, but we’re still in the early stages of financial fear in the publishing community.

  • Kosmo August 12, 2011, 11:17 am

    I think your link to Goodreads has an extraneous http in it.

    One thing to note about lending is that you can lend out a book once, ever. In other words, ten friends can’t pool their money to buy the newest Grisham novel and share it amongst the group. (Well, not with Kindle lending, anyway).

    I have a couple of Kindle books on Amazon, and I had no qualms with allowing them to be lent. The downside – the fact that you might lose 1 sale – is not that great. You might not have gotten that sale anyway. However, if the person begins reading your book and gets halfway through before the 14 day period ends, you have them trapped – they need to buy the book to continue reading.

    At some point this year, you’ll be able to check out Kindle books from public libraries (Nook users can already do this).

  • rutez January 4, 2012, 10:51 am

    All these limitations on e-book use are crazy. In truth, if you can’t loan it, you don’t own it. Why do I have to pay full price for a book that hasn’t been copyedited (loads of mistakes) and that I can’t loan or give away? It makes me mad at the publishers and it encourages people to develop work-arounds that completely cut out the publishers. Is that really a good alternative? I cannot believe how bereft of imagination the publishers are. They could be making loads and loads of money off e-books, developing new book-buyers, and infecting the reading world with enthusiasm. It could even work to bring more people into brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, they encourage piracy by making work-arounds worthwhile. Brain-dead.