Amazon first announced the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library at the beginning of November 2011. The library ties in closely with their Amazon Prime Membership which is really a “package deal” for delivering content – particularly streaming movies and video – to their new Kindle Fire customers.
What are US Amazon Prime Members?
An Amazon Prime membership costs $79 for a year. Members are entitled to:
- Unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows
- Free Two-Day Shipping on items
- A Kindle Book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
The focus of the Prime membership seems to be on the multimedia content for the Kindle Fire because members only get to borrow 12 Kindle books per year with their $79 membership.
More about the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
There are already more than 30,000 ebooks available for borrowing including over 100 current and former bestsellers. These ebooks can only be borrowed by readers who are Kindle owners and have purchased a Prime Membership.
Since there are no due dates on the books borrowed I’m not sure how this is really any different than letting readers choose a free, popular ebook each month.
When readers browse the Kindle store from their Kindle they will be able to identify ebooks that are part of the Kindle Owners Lending Library by a small “Prime Badge” alongside the item in search results.
What Does This Mean for Authors?
Amazon has set up a new fund to compensate authors whose ebooks are borrowed from this library. Your Kindle books will not automatically be added into the Kindle Owners Lending Library. You need to choose to include your ebook using Amazon’s new KDP Select option which is now accessible from your KDP Bookshelf.
The fund ($500,000 for December) is split based on your share of the total of qualified borrows of all participating titles. For example, in December if the total number of qualified borrows is 100,000 and your book was borrowed 50 times, you will earn 0.05% or $250.
Looks attractive on the surface, however my advice is don’t jump in too quickly. Adding your ebooks to the library requires entering an exclusivity agreement with Amazon so you won’t be able to sell those ebooks elsewhere. As with entering any publishing agreement it is important that you understand exactly what you will be gaining and also what you are agreeing to give up! I have written more about the pros and cons of KDP Select over in another post..
What are your thoughts on the new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library? Please leave a comment below.