Amazon just added a nice new feature for subscribers of its Amazon Prime service. The online retailer announced this week the Kindle Owners' Lending Library: a feature that lets any Prime user who owns a Kindle device borrow up to one Kindle book a month for free from a list of thousands of books "including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers". Unlike borrowing a book from your local library, Amazon won't charge you any overdue fines; there are no due dates with this online library.
This new service seems to be a reduced version of a previously rumored plan to offer Amazon Kindle users a Netflix-like "all you can read" service for one monthly or annual feel, a plan that reportedly ran into resistance from book publishers. While Amazon still remains a large distributor of third-party books, Amazon themselves have also been actively publishing both original e-books and physical books.
All of this activity shows that Amazon is making a big bet that people want to spend their money on old fashioned books, even in a relatively new fashioned medium like an eReader or the Kindle Fire tablet. At the same time, the Amazon Prime service continues to add value to its $79 a year fee; it also offers streaming videos of movies and TV shows, a la Netflix, free two day shipping of most items on Amazon with no minimal purchase and more.