Amazon has sweetened the deal for its Prime Subscribers. In addition to watching movies along with other benefits, Amazon Prime Subscribers can now lend books from Amazon’s digital library. Isn’t that the coolest thing since Kindle itself? May be, but let’s look through the fine print.
- Lending option is available for Amazon Prime subscribers only. Subscription costs $79 per year.
- Lending option is available for Kindle devices. If you are running Kindle app on iPad, then you won’t get it.
- You can only have one book at a time.
- You can only rent one book per month.
- There are only 5000 books in the selection and no major book publishers are participating in the program.
Now #3 and #4 are slightly conflicting. If you can have only one book at a time then renting out one book per month doesn’t make any sense. Also, for a voracious reader, one book per month limit is well limiting.
If you are not sure if you want the Prime membership then there is an option to try the service for a month and then withdraw later.
There are sources pointing to the service working in India. Prime comes with a whole of movies to be streamed and we are not yet sure if this streaming works in India are not.
Renting is the new owning
Thanks to AirBnB, renting has become the new owning. Of course, book reading has long been relying on libraries and lending, digital revolution has posed its own challenges to lending.
Everyone is ironing out the issues around lending and Amazon seems to be making its first step towards a viable model. In spite of the limiting feature of 1 book per month, I can see lending having a great future.
Now it would be interesting to watch how the sales go.
Amazon’s Double standards or Kindle Boot up?
The most befuddling aspect of Amazon’s lending affair is its non-availability on Kindle apps. That’s a whole ecosystem (Apple and Android) left out of the game. I thought Kindle devices are only conduits to reach Amazon’s massive content library. I still think it is the case.
Kindle is just a moat. And Kindle app which runs on Android and iOS devices is a bigger moat. It makes all the more sense for Amazon to release this feature to iOS and Android devices. My guess is, Amazon would eventually open up. May be its waiting for Kindle Fire’s to kick start its surge towards a tablet market share.
More than Amazon maintaining double standards, I see this as a staggered approach, to make Kindle Fire even more attractive.
Also read GigaOM’s Publishers still not getting it.