Despite some of the challenges of lending library books in digital formats, many libraries are exploring the e-book option. However, although there are a number of choices for e-readers and digital content providers, the list of devices that let you check out library books hasn’t included the most popular e-reader of all: the Kindle.
That is, until today, with the announcement from Amazon this morning that it is launching a Lending Library “later this year” that will let Kindle owners check out books from their local library.
The details of how the program will work are scant, but Amazon does say that the program will launch with the participation of over 11,000 libraries in the U.S. To do this, it’s working with OverDrive, a company that provides digital content to many schools and libraries. This likely means that OverDrive will begin to offer the Kindle format as an option to libraries.
Libraries will still have to decide whether or not to purchase licenses for e-books from the publishers, and after the recent HarperCollins decision to make e-books “self-destruct” after 26 check-outs, many libraries are notably concerned about how e-book lending will work.
Amazon says that its lending feature will work with Kindle devices, as well as with Kindle apps. It’s also adding a pretty cool new feature: the ability to actually make margin notes in your library books. You’ll be able to take notes, store them privately – in other words, the next library patron won’t see them – and then access them again should you check the book out again or purchase it in the future.
Although Kindle users have been able to lend e-books to one another since December of last year, that process restricts a loan to just once per book.
With this new Kindle option available, will you check out e-books from your library? That’s a question that libraries and publishers – and now Amazon – are very interested in seeing answered.