Amazon.com announced on Wednesday that they are going to open their own lending library. Unlike already-established third-party lending libraries, which rely on customers lending e-books to other customers, the Kindle Library Lending, which will launch later this year and allow Kindle users to borrow not from other users, but from over 11,000 libraries nationwide.
Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and as well as the free Kindle reading apps available on multiple platforms (Android
, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone).
Users can "check out" a Kindle
book from participating libraries, free of charge. In addition, they can make notes and add bookmarks to their borrowed e-books, just as they can with purchased copies. It the reader then decides to buy the book after the borrowing period expires, the annotations will automatically transfer to the purchased copy. If the customer checks out the same e-book again, the annotations will be there, as well.
Amazon.com said it is using OverDrive to power its lending library. OverDrive already has what could be called "generic" Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry apps, as well as desktop clients that link to specific libraries that users can search for at search.overdrive.com
It's hard to argue that this isn't another example of Amazon.com and its Kindle outflanking the Google and Apple in terms of e-books. When the iPad was announced, Amazon.com's Kindle was pronounced dead by some.
Lower-cost Kindles, as well as the far larger selection at Amazon.com as opposed to Apple's iBookStore kept that from happening. While the library functionality is available from OverDrive, adding it directly to its own ecosystem can only be called a great move on Amazon.com's part.