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The Scoop on the New Kindle Owners’ Lending Library Program, and An Important Commitment from Amazon: Free Kindle Book Offers Are Not Going Away


By Steve Windwalker

There has been a bit of confusion among Kindle owners today following Amazon’s launch of their new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library program, and we’ll do all we can here to help get it sorted out. I apologize for our phrasing that referred to the program initially as “Amazon’s new approach to free books,” and for the fact that there was a brief period when our Free Book Search Tool was returning some titles that were not free (in that they qualified only for free borrowing under the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library program); that problem has now been addressed. Like the New York Times, we took a moment to get our heads around what was being launched.

Important note: For any readers who were charged for a book today due to confusion between free books and the new Kindle lending library program for Amazon Prime members, Kindle customer support is always glad to provide a no-hassle return and refund within 7 days of your purchase. You can contact them at http://amzn.to/tL7YwJ.

So, what’s the new program?

First, let me be as clear as I can be: the new Kindle Owners’ Lending Library program is not a replacement for Amazon’s free Kindle book offerings, and Kindle Nation Daily has received a direct answer from Amazon spokeswoman Sarah Gelman today “confirming that we will continue to offer free books in the Kindle Store.”

Other than that very important fact, here’s the scoop on the new program:

This new addition to the $79 Amazon Prime package will add great value to what is already a terrific deal — a deal that I have been enjoying for several years. Here are some of the fine points for the lending program:

  • There are tons of great books available under this program, including over 100 current and former New York Times bestsellers.
  • This “lending library” program is limited to one book per Amazon account per month.
  • There do not, at present, appear to be any “due dates” or other limitations imposed on the length of time for which you can “borrow” these books, but you do have to return one book before you can download another under the program.
  • The program is limited to those readers who actually own a Kindle device — any Kindle device from the Kindle 1 to the Kindle Fire and anything in between or thereafter, but not the Kindle Apps for other devices such as computers and iPads. Indeed, at present you can only browse the listings for these books using a Kindle and you need to be on your Kindle to download a qualifying book when you find one that you like.

We’ll have a lot more to report on this in the days ahead, and you can count on us to do all we can to help you find books that you want to read at prices you can comfortably pay — including free!

For Amazon’s diagrams on how to use their new program, please visit the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library page.

Here’s the guts of Amazon’s press release this morning:

Introducing The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library

With an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can now choose from thousands of books to borrow for free – including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers – as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates

Books can be borrowed and read on all Kindle E Ink devices and Kindle Fire


SEATTLE, Nov 02, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Today, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced the launch of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. With an Amazon Prime membership, Kindle owners can now choose from thousands of books to borrow for free – including over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers – as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates. No other e-reader or ebookstore offers such a service. With an annual Prime membership, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is included at no additional cost. Millions of Prime members enjoy free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of nearly 13,000 movies and TV shows, and now thousands of books to borrow for free with a Kindle.


“Owning a Kindle just got even better. Today, we’re introducing a new Prime benefit built for Kindle: The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. “Prime Members now have exclusive access to a huge library of books to read on any Kindle device at no additional cost and with no due dates.”


The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library offers access to a wide array of categories and genres in fiction and non-fiction, and includes popular titles such as Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Big Short and Liars’ Poker by Michael Lewis, TheHunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen –plus award-winning books such as The Finkler Question and Guns, Germs, and Steel, memoirs such as Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and motivational books like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Just as with any other Kindle book, your notes, highlights and bookmarks in borrowed books will be saved, so you’ll have them later if you purchase or re-borrow the book. Books are borrowed from a Kindle device, and customers can have one book out at a time. When customers want to borrow a new book, any borrowed book can easily be returned right from their device.


Titles in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library come from a range of publishers under a variety of terms. For the vast majority of titles, Amazon has reached agreement with publishers to include titles for a fixed fee. In some cases, Amazon is purchasing a title each time it is borrowed by a reader under standard wholesale terms as a no-risk trial to demonstrate to publishers the incremental growth and revenue opportunity that this new service presents.


“The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a great new benefit for Kindle owners and an entirely new growth opportunity for authors and publishers,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content. “With the growth in Prime membership and the recent addition of Prime Instant Video, we’ve been able to broaden our relationships with movie and TV studios such as CBS, Fox, and NBCUniversal and significantly increase their revenue. We’re excited to expand that investment to books – with this launch, we expect three immediate results: Kindle owners will read even more, publisher revenues will grow, and authors will see larger royalty checks.”


“We’re excited to offer titles from our ebook ‘Chapters’ series, which covers some of the world’s most popular destinations, to members of Kindle Owners’ Lending Library,” says John Boris, EVP Lonely Planet. “Our ebooks have done incredibly well on Kindle and this is a great way to showcase our travel expertise to an even broader audience.”


“We’re excited about any program that helps readers discover our authors and their books,” said David Nussbaum, Chief Executive and Chairman of F+W Media Inc. “We think this will lead to more people reading F+W’s books, and more profit for our authors.”


To learn more about the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, visit www.amazon.com/kindleownerslendinglibrary. To learn about all of the additional benefits included with Amazon Prime, or to start an Amazon Prime free trial visit www.amazon.com/prime.

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