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November 3, 2011

Amazon Lending Library. Watch out libraries

kindle lending library

Look out libraries, Amazon may have you in its sights with the new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The new program allows Kindle owners to borrow up to one book a month, with no fixed return date. The perk is being bundled with Amazon Prime membership, which includes free shipping and streaming movies for the $79 annual fee. So for pure reading, it isn't a better deal than a library card at the Enoch Pratt or another area library.

Amazon is touting the service with titles such as "Water for Elephants," "Moneyball," and "The Finkler Question." But that masks one of the short-comings: a lack of hot, new best-sellers. The Wall Street Journal noted: “None of the six largest publishers in the U.S. is participating. Several senior publishing executives said recently they were concerned that a digital-lending program of the sort contemplated by Amazon would harm future sales of their older titles or damage ties to other book retailers.”

It would be foolhardy to predict the impact of Amazon's service on the program's first day. That would be like making an Opening Day prediction that the St. Louis Cardinals would win the World Series. Hah! But with Amazon's marketing might, and its broadening lineup of Kindles, I bet the new program will eventually gain a big consumer base -- even if it doesn't hurt libraries.


Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 2:34 PM | | Comments (1)


I don't know as Amazon is setting out to destroy libraries, though I expect that will be the result, once their offering matures. Right now, it is laughably meager, but then so are the eBook offerings of most public library consortia managed by Overdrive.

If libraries and traditional publishers don't get together to change the eBook lending model--and fast--they both face extinction.

See, The End of Libraries, Part I and II

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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