Thursday, January 27, 2011

iPad Owners Get Another Route To Free Reading: All of Your Friends With KIndles--Kindle Store's New Lending & Borrowing Program Works For Many; Lending Is Set To Grow By Leaps and Bounds Through New "Kindle Lending Club"

by Stephen Windwalker
Publisher of Planet iPad 
&Editor of Kindle Nation

In some ways, it wasn't really fair of us to include a question about the new Kindle lending program in our Winter 2011 Kindle Nation Citizen Survey. After all, the program is even newer and shinier than the Kindles that millions of happy campers opened on the morning of December 25, since Amazon waited until the penultimate day of 2010 to launch the program.

So in that context, it's pretty impressive that over 15 percent of the first 1500 respondents to our survey said that they were "using the new lending feature to lend or borrow Kindle books" sometimes (10%), every week (4%), or nearly every day (2%).

Even more impressive is the growth of a very attractive new service called the Kindle Lending Club that hits the sweet spot for interested Kindle lenders and borrowers by making the process easier than ever even as it multiplies dramatically the universe of potential readers with whom you can share books.

The Kindle Lending Club is only about two weeks old, but "our membership on the website is now over 8,800, over 10,000 on Facebook, and we have matched over 6,000 book loans on the website since the website launch," Kindle Lending Club founder Catherine MacDonald told me this morning.

How many Kindle customers will ultimately borrowing and/or lending of Kindle content? Even if the percentage stays in the 20 percent range, that could be millions of Kindle owners. And content borrowing could also swell the ranks of those who are first introduced to Kindle reading by downloading a free Kindle app onto another device such as an Android, iPhone, iPad, PC, or Mac.

So we don't know how many there will be, but for those who decide to give it a try it's hard to think of a better way to go about it than through the Kindle Lending Club. I tried it the other day and managed to lend three books to eager readers that very day, and it took me a grand total of less than five minutes.

We're sufficiently impressed here at Kindle Nation that we've been brainstorming with Kindle Lending Club members for ways to work together to help make a more Kindle-friendly world for all readers and for our author and publishers friends as well.

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