Kindle Lending

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We’ve all done it a million times. We finish a great book and loan it to someone else. Maybe it’s a friend, a coworker, or even a spouse. Regardless how close they are to us, there’s a pretty good chance that while we’ll let that paper back out the door, we’re not really interested in loaning them our entire Kindle device.

Amazon has remedied that.

The new Kindle book lending feature allows users to lend out digital copies of books they’ve purchased. But, there’s a limit to this; each digital book may only be lent out once, for no more than 14 days, and while it’s on loan the original purchaser can not access it.

By default, all DTP titles are available for lending, but if you’re signed up for the 35% royalty option you can choose to opt your titles out by deselecting the checkbox under “Kindle Book Lending” in the “Rights and Pricing” section of your title. Anyone who purchased your book before you unticked that checkbox can still lend it, however, but new purchasers can’t. Of note, if your book is enrolled in the 70% royalty option then there’s no way to opt out.

Authors won’t receive notifications (right now, anyway) that their books have been loaned, nor will they receive a royalty payment because no book was purchased. But, before you get angry about that, consider this. when you loaned that paper back to your friend/coworker/spouse, did the author know? Did they receive a royalty payment for it? The only difference I see is that Amazon has capped the number and duration of loans.

For more information, visit the Amazon.com Kindle Book Lending FAQ.

12 Comments

  1. Hmmm…. I saw this and am interested to see whether it boosts sales, decreases sales, or won’t make a difference. On one hand, what’s good is that it increases the author’s exposure, and I do like that there’s a cap on the amount of time the book can be lent out. Another benefit is the person lending it or loaning it can’t ask for a refund on the book. LOL I just hope people aren’t going to be passing it around for a ‘Look at how much this author sucks!’ I’d like to believe it’s people ‘Look at how much this author rocks!’ 😀

    1. Yeah, i am waiting to see if it makes any difference, myself. It’s a pity they can’t notify us to let us know that someone shared it, but you never know with paper backs either, soooo…

  2. Thanks for the info Joleene…and for Ruths Comment too. It could be a positive thing…not everyone reads a full book in 14 days due to work / family commitments etc. If someone likes it but doesnt finish it before the end period then you never know, you might get another sale from the lend. Go with the flow on this one i think. Dave

    1. Thanks Dave> yeah, i wondered about the 14 days, too. While that would be plenty for me, my husband would take a month or more for a book of any decent size. Maybe they will have to then go purchase in order to finish it 😉

  3. LA Hilden says:

    Hi Joleene,
    When I first read about the lending program, I thought, Yikes! I’m really glad Amazon put a cap on the lending. Hopefully the lending program will lead readers to purchase some of the authors other books. Now that sounds very good. Time will tell.

    1. Yes, LA, I think that’s all we can do right now is wait and see what it does, if it has any impact at all. I’m quite curious to see – it’s one of those times you wish you could climb in your time machine, pop ahead, take a look, and then hop back.

  4. M. Howalt says:

    Interesting. Thank you for posting this. I’ve looked at Kindle, but never tried it, but this seems interesting.

    1. You’re welcome. I just got my first Kindle as an after Christmas present to myself and am enjoying it.

  5. Maureen Gill says:

    I think I like Amazon’s lending program; it’s certainly better than the “lending program” that’s always existed with print books! I’ve been loaning books to people (and reading loaned books) all my life and I must admit I never felt I was cheating an author. I don’t think I ever thought about it; it’s just been a way of life. I grew up in a family where we always had books bouncing around among the uncles, aunts, my parents, the cousins. We loved books and we shared our books and I grew up in a home that valued books and we also bought a lot of books. I still one of the best Christmas (or anytime) gift I can give or receive is a book so it’s not like I don’t buy books. Only God knows how much $$$$ I’ve spent on books — but I believe in loaning them as well and see no point in a book sitting on a shelf if someone else could enjoy it or learn from it. And I’ve also been introduced to different kinds of books and different authors because people have loaned me books they’ve loved.

    I wonder what the ratio has been re: purchase:loan (just over the last 50 yrs when print has been realtively inexpensive) –> how many times has a book been “loaned” (beyond a library lending)? My guess is that it’s an astronomical figure.

    I go to garage sales and see boxes of books, some paperback & some hardcover, routinely sold for as low as a dime, tops a few bucks. They usually look well worn and I think “what a neat commodity…” because even old and used it might still light up someone’s eyes and give pleasure.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen to print books and on one level it grieves me to think I might not always be able to give somone $4 and haul home a treasure trove of books for the summer or to leave at the hospital or the community center for further reading and pleasure.

    I’m not going to feel cheated by Amazon’s lending policy; in fact, it probably protects my interests as an author more than it could ever be protected in print.

    It’s a fine pas de deux this dance of ours between loving to be read and needing to be paid.

    1. Exactly, Maureen! I’ve read borrowed books and/or loaned out books so many, many times. In fact, when I was a kid we lived in a tiny town of about 200 so. We had a library, but it was all donated books, and we got a lot of their rejects, many of which I still have to this day. i think a lot of my favorite books were given to me used, but then I have this fondness for used books over new ones. They have a sort of “lived in” feel that I like. I love the smell of new paper, but used books have a character – it’s fun to wonder who read it before, and did they like it and what happened to them, etc etc,

      Okay. I’m rambling now!

      1. This is off topic, but I imagine what kind of lives people had when I go through cemetaries or when I was kid and bored in church (sorry but the Catholic mass had this numbing effect on me and thinking of what the people’s lives were like helped keep me stay awake–lol).

        On topic… I love used books too. 😀

        1. yes! I do too, that’s why I love cemeteries! They’re like story books waiting to happen! And Episcopalian mass isn’t much more exciting. I made stories up in my head, generally 😉

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