The Kindle Lending Club: borrow and lend Kindle books for free
Amazon recently introduced the ability to loan Kindle books to people who aren’t on your account. This creates parity with the NOOK’s lending feature.
However, it raises an obvious question…how do you find people with whom to lend and borrow books? Sure, it could be a coworker…but which of them have Kindles? It might be a family member or a friend…but it may be better to just have them on the same account with you.
Enter Catherine McDonald and The Kindle Lending Club.
This is a free service that originally started on Facebook and is now in a public beta (testing phase) at another site.
Catherine is one of my readers, and commented on my announcement when Kindle book lending first went into effect.
She was also nice enough to answer some questions* for me about the service, and to allow me to share those with you.
Those questions and answers follow:
1. Why should someone use The Kindle Lending club?
The Kindle Lending Club is a free service that connects Kindle owners who would like to borrow books from one another. We have had a Facebook page (http://www.Facebook.com/KindleLendingClub) since December 31 and our website (http://www.KindleLendingClub.com), which will provide a more powerful book search, browse, and instant borrower-lender matching, launched in beta on Friday, January 14. Our large, diverse group of readers means that there are all sorts of books available to borrow at any time, including the bestsellers.
2. About how many members do you have? Do you know approximately how many books have been loaned?
As of today, January 15, we have 4,593 members on the Facebook page and 854 people partcipating in the public beta of the website. We haven’t had the time to really keep track closely, but there have been hundreds of book loans arranged at the Facebook page since we launched on December 31.
Bufo’s Update: Catherine was nice enough to give me these figures when they became available
Books listed to loan: 1,804
Borrow requests: 753
Completed loans: 313
4. Do people have to publicly reveal their e-mail addresses? If so, have people expressed privacy concerns? Do you worry about being involved in a complaint?
People do not have to publicly reveal their e-mail addresses. Borrowers have to reveal their e-mail address to the lender, of course, because Amazon requires an email address to process the loan. But you don’t have to use your Amazon account e-mail address for a loan; you could set up a free e-mail account that you only use for this purpose if you are concerned about privacy.
5. Some people think that loaning to strangers is outside of the “spirit” of the program. How do you feel about that?
This is a great question. My feeling is that Amazon developed a pretty abuse-proof lending system to so that you or I can choose to lend any given book to a personal friend, a family member, or someone we know from an online community. When you purchase a Kindle ebook, you really purchase a package of digital rights, including the right, if the book has lending enabled, to lend it once to a person of your choosing. Whether you lend to a friend or fellow club member online, the book can only be loaned once. Shouldn’t people who do not have a large circle of book-loving “real-life” friends still have the pleasure of lending their books?
6. What will be the biggest surprise people get when using The Kindle Lending Club?
I think there are a couple of surprises in store. First of all, the size of our community means that there are hundreds of books available to borrow, even many copies of popular bestsellers, at any given time. Our members have said that they sometimes get loaned books within moments of requesting them. The second thing that may surprise people is how friendly and generous our community is to one another, and how welcoming they are to newcomers.
8. How do people join? Does each member need to have a Facebook account?
To use the Facebook group discussion boards to borrow and lend right now, people will need to have a Facebook account. However, a Facebook account is not mandatory at the website.
I found Catherine to be professional, forthcoming, and clear in our communications. I haven’t tried the site myself yet, although I have looked at it. I think it will be a tremendous resource for some Kindle owners. I can’t vouch for the organization, but my intuition is that it is what it appears to be.
If you have experience with the site, or decide to use it as a result of this article, please feel free to comment on this post. I assume Catherine will also see this, and may reply to comments as well.
For more information on Kindle book lending, see my Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special book lending edition.
* Catherine initially provided a set of answers. Unfortunately, through purely my error, I didn’t see it for several days. The best way to reach me concerning this blog and my other writings is by leaving a comment on this blog. If you want it to be private, please let me know in the comment. With Catherine, the correspondence went through another channel, one I don’t check as often or as carefully, and I simply missed her e-mail. The reason I bring this up is that her answers needed to be updated to reflect the new beta non-Facebook service. I rewrote the necessary answers slightly, mostly just changing tenses and that sort of thing. I sent it to her for her approval, which she gave me. She was also able to give me some more detail, which is separated out in the interview.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.