Amazon has quietly introduced ebook lending—no press release, no big announcement, just a brief blurb on the official Kindle Forum.
Before you get too excited and uncork your favorite bottle of champagne, Amazon’s ebook lending uses the same system as Barnes and Noble uses for the Nook, so it’s not nearly as cool as it sounds, thanks to limits set by publishers.
With ebook lending you can let someone borrow an ebook enabled for lending 1 time for 14 days. During that time you will not have access to the lent ebook, and once you get it back you cannot lend it again—ever. Publishers determine which ebooks are lendable and which are not, so a lot of the major publishers decline the option.
The good news is lending isn’t limited to just the Kindle; you can lend and borrow ebooks using Amazon’s free software programs for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices.
To lend an ebook you currently have to go to the Manage Your Kindle page or the product details page of the book you own and want to lend. The link is at the top of the product page directly below your order confirmation if applicable. Click the “Loan this Book” link to fill out the form to send it to someone.
To find if an ebook is lendable, you have to scroll down the book’s description page to the Product Details section. If the book is lendable you will see this listed, Lending: Enabled.
Amazon will more than likely incorporate the lending feature into the Kindle and Kindle apps in the near future to make the process easier, much like B&N, but for now it takes a little extra work.
More information on this topic can be found on Amazon’s Kindle eBook lending help page.