One of my least favorite things about the Kindle has been the book isolation. I love to lend books to friends, family, and even people I only sort of like. That picture to the left is no arbitrary image I chose. Back in my elementary school days, I attempted to turn my bookshelves into a library with each book featuring a card to sign it out in a pocket on the back cover. (And yes, I was that cool.)
But lately, my lending has been lacking. Most of the books I get these days are of the “e” variety, and my physical bookshelf is a pretty sad compilation of books I mostly picked up for free through work or other channels. That doesn’t leave a lot to lend.
Until now! The Kindle has finally stood up to the Nook and said yes to sharing, yes to borrowing, yes to “why don’t you try…” Here’s how the new loaning function works, explained by Amazon itself: “Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days. The borrower does not need to own a Kindle — Kindle books can also be read using our free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. Not all books are lendable — it is up to the publisher or rights holder to determine which titles are eligible for lending. The lender will not be able to read the book during the loan period.”
Exciting, right? Now I don’t have to tell my friends about this great book I just read and then gently suggest they head on over to the bookstore if they like what they just heard. Except I kind of do still have to do that.
The key part of the Amazon explanation is that not all books are lendable. It’s up to the publisher in most cases. And in most cases, so far at least, that means not so lendable. In my Kindle library of about 30 titles only three are able to be loaned. So if you’re interested in reading Sleep Toward Heaven, Mennonite in a Little Black Dress or the Corrections then hit me up, I’m happy to share. Other than that, there’s not much I can do.
For now. As lending becomes more popular, hopefully more publishers will allow more books to be lent.
And that’s something to look forward to because you know what’s the best thing about e-book lending versus the real thing? Your books won’t come back all scrawled in, beat up or with the carefully crafted sign out card in the back cover missing. I mean…