Unofficial ebook libraries, where users share digital books between themselves, have flourished in a murky legal halfway house so far, but Amazon is looking to make the whole thing official - albeit on its own terms. Later this year will see the launch of Library Lending for Kindle Books, offering Kindle-format ebooks from 11,000 libraries across the US.
The ebooks will be readable both on dedicated Kindle hardware - from all three generations - as well as in Amazon's Kindle apps for iOS, Android, PC, Mac and other platforms. Any notes or annotations made will be preserved and visible again if you re-borrow or later purchase the ebook (though not visible to other borrowers).
Amazon is partnering with OverDrive for the Library Lending launch, so we're presuming that there will be 7-21 day limitations on loan periods, and that each title will only be available to one person at a time, just as with a physical book. The service will launch at an unspecified point later in 2011.
AMAZON TO LAUNCH LIBRARY LENDING FOR KINDLE BOOKS
Customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 local libraries to read on Kindle and free Kindle reading apps
Whispersyncing of notes, highlights and last page read to work for Kindle library books
SEATTLE—April 20, 2011—(NASDAQ: AMZN)— Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature launching later this year that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the United States. Kindle Library Lending will be available for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.
“We’re excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries,” said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. “Customers tell us they love Kindle for its Pearl e-ink display that is easy to read even in bright sunlight, up to a month of battery life, and Whispersync technology that synchronizes notes, highlights and last page read between their Kindle and free Kindle apps.”
Customers will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone. If a Kindle book is checked out again or that book is purchased from Amazon, all of a customer’s annotations and bookmarks will be preserved.
“We're doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we're extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”
With Kindle Library Lending, customers can take advantage of all of the unique features of Kindle and Kindle books, including:
Paper-like Pearl electronic-ink display
No glare even in bright sunlight
Lighter than a paperback – weighs just 8.5 ounces and holds up to 3,500 books
Up to one month of battery life with wireless off
Read everywhere with free Kindle apps for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry and Windows Phone
Whispersync technology wirelessly sync your books, notes, highlights, and last page read across Kindle and free Kindle reading apps
Real Page Numbers – easily reference passages with page numbers that correspond to actual print editions
Amazon is working with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital content solutions for over 11,000 public and educational libraries in the United States, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle customers. “We are excited to be working with Amazon to offer Kindle Library Lending to the millions of customers who read on Kindle and Kindle apps,” said Steve Potash, CEO, OverDrive. “We hear librarians and patrons rave about Kindle, so we are thrilled that we can be part of bringing library books to the unparalleled experience of reading on Kindle.”
Kindle Library Lending will be available later this year for Kindle and free Kindle app users. To learn more about Kindle go to www.amazon.com/kindle.