Amazon Kindle now allows book sharing

Amazon's Kindle has been a runaway success for the company. Not only is it Amazon's best selling product of all time, it has even entered the mainstream with non-technology people either buying or strongly considering the device. One of the disadvantages of the Kindle compared to a standard book is the fact that once you're done reading, you can't share the experience by lending it to a friend. Amazon acknowledged this deficiency and has now enabled the ability to share ebooks with not only other Kindles, but with any device that has the Kindle software.

You share a book by going into the "Manage Your Kindle" section of their website, expand the details of the book, and click the "Loan this book" button. You will be prompted to enter the recipients email address before the process is complete. Your friend then receives an email with your offer and has seven days to accept it. Once accepted, the person has two weeks to read the book before it it automatically returned to the original owner. Like a real book, the original owner can not read the book while it has been lent to a friend.

Unfortunately, not all books will be lendable; Amazon has provided publishers the option of disabling this feature. In addition, even if a publisher allows their book to be shared it appears that it can only be lent out a single time before the feature is locked. This seems like an arbitrary limitation, but is probably included to prevent "Kindle book clubs" from forming online, something that could definitely eat into Amazon's sales.

Amazon's site also states that sharing of books can only be done through their website and not from the Kindle itself. It would be useful if two Kindle owners who are having lunch together could share books with each other right there, but with the proliferation of smart phones this is probably only a minor inconvenience to most.

Lastly, while Kindle owners can send books to non-US owners (again, if permitted by the publisher), non-US owners can't currently lend books to anyone. This was most likely another concession that Amazon had to make with the publishers to allow this feature to be enabled.

Lending ebooks is definitely a step in the right direction and this extra flexibility is sure to improve Kindle sales. Has this additional feature convinced you to purchase a Kindle, or are you still happy with traditional books?

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Buttus said,
how about giving a book to someone else? not just lend?

It doesn't appear that feature is available. My guess is that publishers would have the same concerns - I give it to you, you give it to Fred, Fred gives it to Jane, Jane gives it to...... And nobody buys another eBook.

Fezmid said,

It doesn't appear that feature is available. My guess is that publishers would have the same concerns - I give it to you, you give it to Fred, Fred gives it to Jane, Jane gives it to...... And nobody buys another eBook.

This is what happens in real life and no one has gone out of business. If you can only give one copy away and you lose your rights to that copy then people will be more selective.

We even have libraries which purchase books and then loan them out for free multiple times. It's just fine.

Quattrone said,
The kindle is great for people that want read books only, try the Internet and you will be disappoint.
that's great, cos it's for books!

Quattrone said,
The kindle is great for people that want read books only, try the Internet and you will be disappoint.

The internet access, or more specifically the browser, isn't that bad. Granted I've had a couple of crashes using it - one of which was more todo with my Wi-Fi than the device itself, but for an 'experimental' browser, it does the job reasonably. The 'Post this to Facebook / Tweet it' system, for sharing highlights works perfectly.

And as BGM said - ultimately it's a dedicated e-reader - perhaps it's for the best that the browsing experience isn't fantastic - keeps people from wondering off onto the 'net, when they should be reading

Quattrone said,
The kindle is great for people that want read books only, try the Internet and you will be disappoint.

I guess that's why it's sold as an e-book reader? Anyone buying a Kindle for the ability to surf the Internet needs their head checked. The built-in browser is explicitly marked as an experimental feature. It's there in case you need it but it's hardly the preferred way to browse the Web.

Quattrone said,
The kindle is great for people that want read books only, try the Internet and you will be disappoint.

Which is ironic, considering I bought one to...wait for it...read books. I'd rather have one thing that performs its purpose well, than something that does a bunch of things half-assed.

Quattrone said,
The kindle is great for people that want read books only, try the Internet and you will be disappoint.

I don't want be disappoint.

Book resale, lending, giving away undermine publisher profits with physical books. Of course publishers will want to do everything they can to limit this for ebooks. Prediction: major publishers will opt out of this "feature".

blahism said,
Just strip the DRM and you can lend all you want

If you like an author, buy their work. If you don't buy their work, they can't afford to be an author, and will have to stop being an author. Which means you lose out in the long run.

See how that works?

brominated said,

If you like an author, buy their work. If you don't buy their work, they can't afford to be an author, and will have to stop being an author. Which means you lose out in the long run.

See how that works?


Interestingly enough, I can lend my physical book to whomever I want, for however long I want, and whether the book was purchased in the US or not. LEGALLY.

It appears the newer the technology, the more backwards we go in terms of limitations to what we can do with our goods.

brominated said,

If you like an author, buy their work. If you don't buy their work, they can't afford to be an author, and will have to stop being an author. Which means you lose out in the long run.

See how that works?

It also works for musicians and programmers.

But the entitlement generation thinks it's entitled to a free ride.

Laura said,
It also works for musicians and programmers.

But the entitlement generation thinks it's entitled to a free ride.

True, however if the same books or music or programs are available for free anywhere in good quality, I would rather not pay for it. That's right. I'm "entitled" to free stuff that may not really be free.

The Kindle is a great item for reading text. But to me it is a very limiting device for serious readers. For ebooks with illustrations, photos, etc., grayscale simply doesn't cut it. The Nook Color fills that need quite nicely. Or just get an iPad and be done with it.

COKid said,
For ebooks with illustrations, photos, etc., grayscale simply doesn't cut it.
My wife and I read quite avidly, maybe one to two books a week between us. I think I can count on one hand in my adult life time of reading (~15 years) the number of books that wouldn't be adequately serviced by my kindle. I simply feel the 99% of the books people read work fine with the kindle has to to offer. I for one love my 3 week battery life. My iPad dies in three hours of heavy use. Also, studies have shown reading on a back-lit screen is harmful to your eyes and sleep patterns. e-ink is equivalent to the printed word... Just my 2 cents

COKid said,
The Kindle is a great item for reading text. But to me it is a very limiting device for serious readers. For ebooks with illustrations, photos, etc., grayscale simply doesn't cut it. The Nook Color fills that need quite nicely. Or just get an iPad and be done with it.

For reference and recipe books I still prefer paper and colours, but I'd say 70% of the books I read are text only. It's great to have another option and I don't see anyone suggesting that you have to use either one or the other. Especially not in this article which was just talking about sharing the books rather than debating the merits of the reader.

COKid said,
The Kindle is a great item for reading text. But to me it is a very limiting device for serious readers. For ebooks with illustrations, photos, etc., grayscale simply doesn't cut it. The Nook Color fills that need quite nicely. Or just get an iPad and be done with it.

Serious readers don't read picture books.

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