Amazon today announced Kindle Library Lending, a new feature that will allow Kindle customers to borrow Kindle books from over 11,000 libraries in the US. Kindle Library Lending will be available later this year for all generations of Kindle devices and free Kindle reading apps.
In other words, users will be able to check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading it on any Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, BlackBerry, iOS, PC, Mac, 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.
Amazon says it is working with OverDrive, the leading provider of digital content solutions, to bring a seamless library borrowing experience to Kindle customers. OverDrive will likely provide the necessary services for libraries.
It's not exactly clear how this will work: why do Kindle users have to even go to a library to borrow a book? The whole point of using Kindle is that books are available wherever you take your reading device. The goal might be to promote libraries again, and users may be interested if it means lower prices (free?).
I personally prefer to borrow books from the library. If I find a book or a series that I find particularly good, and I know I will want to reread it, then I go out and purchase it. It's quite possible this is the type of behavior that Amazon wants to capture with its Kindle series.
"We're excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries," Jay Marine, Director of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement. "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. We're doing a little something extra here. 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."