Today the world's biggest bookseller is opening up shop as a lending library. That's right, Amazon is getting into the book lending business, albeit on a very small scale. This is good for Kindle owners, and a sign that Amazon is going to go to the mat to ensure that it puts a Kindle in as many hands as possible.

The company is announcing the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, which will feature thousands of books that Kindle owners with an Amazon Prime membership can download. This comes in addition to the Prime library of more than 13,000 movies and TV shows.

Amazon Really Wants You to Own a Kindle

According to Amazon's release, the company is paying a fixed fee in some cases, and in other cases paying on a per-checkout basis for each Kindle title that's in the library. That means that any way you slice it, Amazon is paying to let its customers check out books.

Why? Amazon says this is "a no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that this new service presents."

Don't Get Too Excited

Unlike Amazon Video Streaming for Prime, there's a limit to Amazon's largess here: Users get access to one book a month with no due dates. So if you have dreams of burning your library card and tapping the Kindle library for all your reading needs, guess again.

The company says the library will have "thousands" of titles, including more than 100 current and former New York Times bestsellers. Right out of the gate, Amazon is offering Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Note that this only seems to be available to owners of Kindle hardware. If you're using the Kindle app for iPhone or iPad, you're going to be out of luck. If you do have a Kindle, it should show up in the Kindle Store when you click "See all categories" and you'll be presented with the option to buy for free.

This is a nice little feature, though I'm not sure it would sway most users from a different e-reader to a Kindle. When I'm in a reading mood, I often tear through as much as a book every day (though more often every two or three days). So the lending library isn't going to keep avid readers full up on reading material. But, every little bit counts. A free book is better than none. What say you, readers? Would this convince you to buy a Kindle, or pony up for Amazon's Prime membership?