Etail giant Amazon has just announced a new feature for Kindle owners that are also Amazon Prime subscribers: Book borrowing.
If you're a big fan of ebooks, chances are that you don't hit the library very often. However, if you're also an Amazon Prime subscriber, we've got good news for you. Amazon is this week celebrating the launch of a little something called Kindle Owners' Lending Library, a service that allows Kindle owners with Amazon Prime to borrow books for free. You can borrow up to one book a month and Amazon says there are no due dates, though it's not clear on what exactly that means. If we had to guess, we'd wager that you can borrow one book a month and you can't get a new one until the old one has been returned. The company was clear on the fact that any notes or highlighting you make in the book will be saved in case you want to re-borrow the book at a later time.
The Kindle Owners' Lending Library is only available to those with actual Kindle devices, so if you've got Kindle Prime and are using the app on your iPhone or Android device, you can forget your dreams of borrowing books for free.
The service is a new idea that isn't available to users toting rival devices, such as a Sony Reader or Barnes & Noble's Nook. Even publishers, it seems, are wary of the idea. Amazon explained in a statement today that, in most cases it's paying publishing companies a fixed fee in exchange for permission to include their titles in its Prime library, but in some cases, the company is purchasing a title each time it's borrowed by a reader. The company says it is doing so as a no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that the book borrowing service offers.
Amazon Prime costs $79.99 per year and offers users free two-day shipping on all orders, no minimum order size, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, and now, free book borrowing.