Are you loan worthy?

Are you loan worthy?

Amazon has announced that it will soon enable lending, in a manner similar to Barnes & Noble’s NOOK (sic).  A book will only be able to ever be loaned by a particular person once.  While it is on loan, the lender will not be able to read it.  The loan will be fourteen days, and only on books where the publishers allow it (when I last did the figures for the NOOK, that was about a third.  That number may have gone up, since Barnes & Noble requires independent publishers who use their PubIt service to allow LendMe.  I presume the same will be true for independent publishers who are part of the 70% royalty option through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform.  While the NOOK has had LendMe since it was released, Kindle owners will be faced with the decision to lend or not (using an official system) for the first time.  That got me thinking…what would that be like.  Here’s a bit of speculation…

“Wow, what a great book!  I know who would love this…Sue.  Hey, why not share it with my sister…we used to share paperbooks all the time?  I’ve got that new lending thing.

Oh…but she’s got that continuing education course this week.  She’s probably not going to have much time to read for fun.   What if she can’t finish it in fourteen days?  She’d probably be mad at me!  She’d have to buy her own copy to finish…or she’d make me do it.  No, this probably isn’t a good time for her, and I don’t want to take the chance.

I could lend it to Mom!  She’s got plenty of time to read.  Although…she probably already bought it.  That’s right…she was talking about how much she loves this series.  She probably pre-ordered it and finished before me.  She could have loaned it to me!  That would have saved me ten bucks.  But, you know, she might have still been reading it…I can’t expect her to loan it to me before she’s finished it.

Let’s see…hubby and daughter are already on my account, so I don’t have to lend it to them.  Maybe my kid wants to lend it to her boyfriend.  But why should that guy get the only loan ever?  I don’t even know if he reads, and they might have broken up already…I hope.  Well, not really, but I don’t know what she sees in him.

Hmmm….maybe I can offer it to my boss?  No, I don’t know what kind of message that would send…would it seem like I was kissing up?  Would the boss feel pressured to read it?  What if somebody else already loaned it to her…would I just look like I was late to the party?  Better not risk it.

Oh, you know what I would love to do?  I used to send books to people in the service!  Wouldn’t that be cool?  I wouldn’t miss loaning it, since I wasn’t able to do it before anyway.  I wonder if the military has set something like that up?  I mean, I wouldn’t want to lend it and then have it turn out it was a fraud.

I wonder if I could loan it to the school?  No idea how that would work.  Same thing with the public library, I guess.

Maybe  I should just hang on to it…maybe I’ll want to lend it to somebody ten years from now.  That military thing does sound good, though.”

I was just making that up, but I would totally do the military thing.  I would also certainly do that with underprivileged people, but that would be harder to verify and set up.  It wouldn’t be hard to do.  The military makes available a list of military e-mails…they have those, right?  I assume it’s going to work like it does at Barnes & Noble…you send them an offer, and they accept it or not.  So, I’d finish a book, send a borrow offer to somebody on a military list.  If they’ve already read it or don’t want to read it, they reject it.  I send the offer to someone else on the list.  I think the publishers might actually be fine with that…great word of mouth, great PR (even though they don’t do it), and I’m guessing that wouldn’t lose them too many sales (which lending to friends and family might). 

That sounds like a simple and workable system.

I am anxiously awaiting the details on this…I’ve got some questions! 

  • Will the 70% royalty program for independent publishers using Amazon’s Digital Text Platform (DTP) require participation in lending?  I’m guessing yes…Barnes & Noble does it that way.  The way I’ve read the public terms (this is not based on anything confidential), I don’t think they’d even have to ask you if it was okay…I think you already agree to participate in programs like that (and text-to-speech)
  • Will you just send an offer e-mail?  I’m guessing yes
  • If somebody rejects the offer, does that use up the one-time only loan?  I’m guessing no
  • What happens if you make notes or highlights while you are a borrower?  Will they be backed up by Amazon?  If you eventually buy the book, will those notes be available to you?  I’m guessing yes
  • Will Amazon send you an ad to buy a book you’ve borrowed?  Maybe
  • What happens if you lend a book to somebody in an unapproved country for that book?   In other words, I’m a USA Kindleer, and I buy a book authorized for the USA, but not for Australia.  Am I allowed to loan it to an Australian Kindleer?  This one is complicated…would the Aussie accept my offer, and then it is blocked when it is going to that person’s account?  On the other hand, is it okay to do because a sale isn’t taking place?  This is a tough one
  • Will I be able to loan active content (like games)?  I’m guessing not
  • Will I be able to loan subscription items (magazines, newspapers, blogs)?  That would be really nice, but I’m guessing not
  • Which publishers are going to allow this?

What are you wondering about the Kindle’s lending feature?  I do have to say, I’ve been surprised at how negative the reaction has been, at least on the Amazon official announcement thread.  It’s something we didn’t have before…that’s a good thing, right?  Part of it might be because some Kindle owners convinced themselves that the NOOK lending was bad, and this is like that.  I’ve seen several people say Amazon should have been able to force a better deal out of the publishers.  They haven’t been very successful forcing the publishers to do things.  The publishers won on the $9.99 price point for bestsellers and new releases by setting up the Agency Model.  It’s not that all bestsellers were $9.99, but more were before.  The publishers won on being able to block text-to-speech access.  Random House forced Andrew Wylie to back off an exclusive Kindle deal.  It’s going to take a much bigger rise of the independents to give Amazon more power.  Of course, as e-books become a bigger part of the market, Amazon may get more power from that…if they maintain a large part of the market share.

Anyway, feel free to let me know what you think.

Oh, and you might enjoy this one I wrote some time ago about the NOOK’s lending…it’s a parody of the Dick Van Dyke Show:

The nook Van Dyke Show: Neither a lender… The nook Van Dyke Show: Neither a lender…

For more information on the NOOK’s LendMe feature, see this earlier post:

Inside the NOOK’s LendMe feature

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


One Response to “Are you loan worthy?”

  1. lp Says:

    I can’t see myself using the feature. However, it might be useful for those with kids, who don’t want the kids to have access to everything on the parents’ account. The child could be on a separate account, and just read “loaned” items.

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