Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Lend A Friend A Kindle eBook, Including (This Is New This Week) Free eBooks

Here's a wee bit of good news:

When Amazon first made lending available for Kindle books a few days ago, it did not appear that the feature worked with free books. That might not seem like a problem because, well, the books are free, right? 

But if people are going to get into the regular practice of ebook lending, they will want to be able to lend or borrowing as many books as possible, without regard to what price it was at when they acquired it. 

The thinking here is that a lot of the lending that folks will do with Kindle books will be similar to what many of us have done for years with dead-tree books: we lend them to people we care about because we hope they will read them. When that's what is at work, price is often a secondary consideration to content.

There's also the issue that what was free yesterday in the Kindle Store might not be free today.  When The Devil Whistles, a fascinating thriller by Rick Acker, is a case in point.  It was free several days ago, became a popular download, and sprouted a $9.99 price tag.  Those who "bought" it free can loan it to friends (it's lending enabled).

An increasing number of the free books reported each morning in our Kindle Nation Free Book Alerts are showing up with Lending: Enabled under their Product Details heading. This morning, publisher Stephen Windwalker tried loaning a copy of Deadly Sanctuary to his friend Alter J. "Al" Eggo, and although he hasn't claimed it yet, it appears that the offer reached him.


First, note that not all ebooks may be loaned.  That is decided by the author and/or publisher.

Amazon lets you know if lending is enabled on any given book in the "Product Details" section of the book's listing.  Sometimes--not always, just yet--this link appears above the book title, handy at the top of the Amazon page:  "Loan this book to anyone you choose." 

Option 1:  If that line appears on the book's page, it is very easy to lend the book:  Just click on the link, enter the recipient's email address, and add a personal note if you wish.

Option 2:  HOWEVER, if the line does not appear above a title you want to lend, scroll down to the Product Details to see if the words "Lending:  Enabled" are there.  If so, then you have a small chore to lend the ebook.

First, you must go to your "Manage Your Kindle" page, via you Amazon account page.
Second, you must locate the book you want to lend.

Third, you must click on the + sign appearing just before the book's title.  That opens the book's listing, and then you click on the "Loan this book" button.

And that, Dear Reader, takes you to the same easy screen as Option 1.  One would think that all ebooks with lending enabled will one day sport the east-to-use line above the book's title.

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