Amazon Kindle Owners’ Lending Library


Most of you know that last week Amazon unveiled their Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, a service that is only open to Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle. Amazon Prime is an upgraded Amazon membership that costs $79 a year. (Full disclosure – I’ve been a Prime member for a few years now.) The Lending Library is not currently available to users of Kindle apps on smartphones and tablets—only the Kindle itself.

 How the Kindle Owners Lending Library works

Members can borrow one book per month, and keep it on their Kindle for as long as they like, but they can only borrow one book at a time. If they opt to borrow another e-book, the first title is deleted from the device. Any notes and highlighting they made will be saved, and restored if the reader later purchases or again borrows the title in the future.

What books and publishers are involved?

None of the Big 6 publishers are currently participating, but many smaller and independent publishers are. Here is Amazon’s list of books available for lending. If you scroll through it, there appear to be a handful of currently popular books along with some classics and a smattering of informational and how-to books. As far as I can tell (somebody correct me if I’m wrong), you can’t tell from a book’s Amazon listing whether it’s available in the lending program. However, if you’re browsing Amazon using your Kindle AND you’re a Prime member, if the book is available to borrow, then below the “Buy” button is another button that says “Borrow for Free.”

What are people saying?

Most online speculation is that Amazon is trying to lure people to become Prime members at $79 a year. More importantly, according to technology website CNET (hi Nathan!), the Lending Library is intended to drive Kindle sales and is another move in the battle over different e-book devices and formats. (You may have noticed Barnes & Noble’s big announcement of their upcoming color-screen Nook tablet, a direct competitor for the Kindle Fire and the iPad.)

What are the issues for publishers and writers?

This is where it gets complicated, and as time goes by and we all have more time to explore this, there will be much more to say. Right now, a major issue is how payment to publishers will be handled, and then how publishers will in turn pay their authors.

From the Amazon press release: 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.

Russell Grandinetti, vice president for Kindle content, said “the vast majority” of participating publishers were receiving a flat fee for their titles, while a more limited group is being paid the wholesale price for each title that is borrowed. “For those publishers, we’re treating each book borrowed as a sale,” he said.

This “fixed” or flat fee is the problem. It means that a publisher is being paid one fee for a group of books, all by different authors.

If a publisher is receiving a “flat fee” from Amazon for the inclusion of, say, 100 titles, how will authors be compensated? Will Amazon keep track of every free download, pass that information along to publishers, who will then divvy up that “flat fee” according to how many “reads” each author got? There are so many problems with that, I can’t even get started.

Most importantly, there’s no language in the typical author’s publishing contract that adequately covers this or gives the publisher the right to grant multi-author “subscriptions” to that publisher’s catalog.

Some of the publishers who’ve already opted-in believe the extra promotion will help their authors’ books. The more on-site visibility an author has, the better, so if an author has a book in the “Lending Library,” they have better visibility and this can help the sales of all that author’s books.

Is anyone asking the authors’ permission to use their books in this program?

In a word, no. Some people are saying the lending program would fall under the “licensing” part of your contract, but it doesn’t really fit the definition of licensing because of the way Amazon is not paying “per title” but for a group of titles from a publisher.
Here’s a quote from the statement released by the AAR:

“The agent and author community have not been consulted about this new sort of use of authors’ copyrighted material, and are unaware of how publishers plan on compensating authors for this sort of use of their books, which is unprecedented. But we think free lending of authors’ work as an incentive to purchase a device and/or participation in a program is not covered nor was anticipated in most contracts between authors and publishers—nor do most contracts have any stipulation for how an author would be compensated for such a use. Without a clear contractual understanding with their authors, it is unclear to us how publishers can participate in this program. We take very seriously our role to protect the interests of our clients, and at this stage it is difficult to see how this program is in the best interests of our clients.”

So – should authors be worried?

Probably not. Like I said in our discussion yesterday of piracy, it’s good to stay informed. Ask questions. Try to understand how your agent and your publisher are responding. But don’t get all freaked out. There are going to be changes like this happening constantly, because we’re now in a world where technology is in the driver’s seat. It’s going to drive everything that happens in publishing, and we’d all better hang on for the ride.

What are your thoughts about the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library?


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  1. Michael says:

    So does that mean that if I check out a book, finish it in a week, I still have to wait 3 weeks before I check out the next one? Is that what “frequently as one a month mean”?


  2. Tara says:

    I realized that at $79 a month, keeping my prime membership is way too expensive. It works out to $7 a month per book. (And, I can wait more than two days for most shipments). And, since I purchased a Kindle I am much less likely to need shipping of any hard copies of books. Therefore, I am keeping my lovely kindle but tossing the $79 fee and cancelling my prime membership. It is not worth it.

  3. Issac Maez says:

    Books in the borrow program are paid per borrow by Amazon. The rate varies month to month. It’s less than I make from a purchase, but I love participating.

  4. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  5. I think that Amazon should ask the author’s permission first before putting the book in the library. Each time someone borrows the book, the author should get paid.

  6. I think of it as free publicity for books. The exposure and word of mouth are what drive sales, and this is one way of getting exposure.

  7. I think the Evangelicals have a lot of unhealthy allegiances, among them the Republican party. And if helping those less fortunate than I makes me a socialist, so be it. Food and coffee to the Wall Street protesters is a worthy commitment.

  8. Thanks for that. Starving sheep in a grassy field seems to sum it up. From some of the comments I’ve read in response to this post, I wonder if I’m just jaded and see manipulation where I shouldn’t. I have the highest regard for libraries and for sharing the wealth. I despise social injustice of which I see too much. I tend to look under rocks I would have once passed by.

    • Ruth,

      Almost every day, I see pastor friends chide the “Occupy” group. Evangelicals have an unhealthy allegiance to the Republican party and swallow the entirety of what the carve. We should ask serious questions. Why is fighting gun control a Christian issue? Are we not told to turn the other cheek? Why are we fighting for deregulation and viciously attack anything that sounds socialistic? Do we not believe in original and actual sin that drives unchecked persons to horde wealth? Are we not clearly told in Scripture that it is our job to take care of the poor and oppressed?
      I don’t believe a person is jaded because they refuse to accept the status quo. If anything, we have far too many people who are mesmerized by the sweet talk of those enamored with gold.
      We, the church, should be out in numbers taking food and coffee to the Wall Street protesters. They are the ones to whom we are called!

  9. I hope I’m wrong, but at a visceral level I felt: Wall Street, Bank of America, Big Oil, the 1% care only for the 1%, etc.

    • Ruth, here are my thoughts on Wall Street as a Book of Amos fan:

      “Wall Street Siege”–P J Casselman

      Starving sheep in a grassy field
      To food for thought we did not yield
      We see the truth in all we read
      Yet wither up like a shallow seed

      Hiding in cardboard during the storm
      A simple acknowledgement became our norm
      Waves of injustice crashed down our dreams
      Fallen are hopes by Wall Street schemes

      We refuse their falsehoods and promised placation
      While politicians in aisles offer them supplication
      Twenty percent of our bread has been torched
      Through greed and lies the land is scorched

      No more pseudo promises of false moral hopes
      No more programs to bind us like ropes
      Cannibalized the masses? Eating to your fill?
      “You are now under siege!” We call to the Bastille

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  11. Karen says:

    As a reader who reads 4-5 books a week, getting one on my Kindle for free each month is hardly worth bothering with. My real library will let me borrow an unlimited number of books and keep them for 3 weeks (not including renewals!). So I very much doubt that this Kindle library will really generate much excitement…

    As an author, I am concerned with making sure authors get paid for the work they do unless THEY DECIDE to give the rights away!

  12. As an Indie, I want to know how to get my books into the library. That would be awesome! Any ideas?

  13. Peter DeHaan says:

    Borrowing one e-book a month is nothing compared to the borrowing habit of many library patrons. That’s been going on for years and it’s a non-issue — so should this.

  14. Amber Argyle says:

    Huh. I wonder what my publisher thinks of all this.

  15. Robert Lynch says:

    It is also not like a library in that people go to the library for the loan. When someone who is perfectly willing to purchase a book on Amazon sees that they can borrow the book, they will most likely forgo the credit card transaction.

    As an unpublished author, however, I am not too worried. When my novel finally makes it to Amazon, the lending feature will only help to get my name out there, and with hope, get people reading my novel. It can only be good me.

    One question, though. Will Amazon track loans of individual titles, as they do sales, so that publishers will take note of a new author’s popularity? I believe this is much more important to new authors then money earned. Money is still nice, though.

  16. Teri Heyer says:

    For the record, don’t compare this lending program to the FREE ebooks on Amazon/Kindle or other sites. The author makes the decision to offer his/her book for free. Then Amazon, B&N, etc. decide if they want to match the author’s decision to make it free.

  17. Teri Heyer says:

    This will be a problem if an infinite number of each book can be loaned out at one time. At this point, there’s no plan to pay the authors a dime for the books being loaned. So how does that help the author? What if everyone decides to borrow books and not buy them. Are you all cool with that? In the long run, this will hurt sales, particularly with the higher priced books.

  18. Cindy Bonham-Miller says:

    How does an author get paid when someone loans a hardcover or paperback to multiple friends?

  19. This is one of many reasons why I have issues with Amazon’s way of doing business. It’s part of why I have a Nook and have pretty much stopped shopping at Amazon. I get DVD’s there and that’s about it.

    I agree with the concerns you talked about. Amazon Prime is an awfully expensive customer loyalty program, IMO. The comparison to frequent flier miles doesn’t really hold up for me because those don’t cost extra.

    Amazon has a long-standing reputation for manipulating the market, stamping out competitors and giving publishers a hard time. This has great potential to be another way Amazon tries to control yet another segment of our market, with no regard to how it affects us.

    • Timothy Fish says:

      I order enough stuff that it pays for itself. One could argue it is more fair than a frequent flier program, since the airlines charge everyone for that service, but only the most frequent fliers get full privileges.

      And I find it hard to see how you can argue that is being very hard on the publishers. There’s a give and take, certainly, but it is nothing like some of what another major bookstore has pulled. I’ve known people to walk into a store with money in hand, watch the clerk pull up a listing for a book, and then have the clerk them that he couldn’t order the book. If that isn’t hurtful to publishers, I don’t know what is.

      • In most instances, the reader goes and orders it somewhere else. That still doesn’t hurt the publisher or the author in the long run. I live in a rural area (which, btw, is most of America) and have never easily had access to a good bookstore. It’s only been in the last four years that our one chain bookstore has beefed up its Christian fiction section. It’s faster to order a book online than request the bookstore order it.

        What does hurt the publisher, and in turn the author, is the way Amazon forces publishers to accept Amazon’s sales terms. Apple does the same thing. Amazon refused to play by Apple’s rules and as a result Apple is in the process of making it where you can’t easily buy Kindle books on Apple products.

        Amazon tells publishers what they can and cannot do and forces them to play the game to Amazon’s benefit. At cost to us, the writers. B&N doesn’t do that at the corporate level. Amazon and Apple do.

    • Joe Pote says:

      Wow! I am sure that I am showing my ignorance here, but what has Amazon done to merit such loathing?

      As a customer, I have always enjoyed doing business with Amazon, and found them to be cost-competitive, easy to use, efficient and responsive.

      As an author who recently published through Amazon, I have had no major complaints. Yes, there were a few areas where a little clearer direction could have been given, but they were quick to respond to questions and reported issues.

      Frankly I have no bad things to say about Amazon…

  20. TNeal says:

    Some good thoughts.

    As an Amazon Prime member with a Kindle, I appreciate the service without hesitation.

    As an author, I have more of a wait-and-see approach. My first thought though is it helps promote reading and that’s a good thing. It also may give a particular book the light of day it wouldn’t get otherwise.

  21. Clara Rose says:

    It sounds like the library to me… with the potential to be even better. An unlimited number of titles could be available someday, I would be thrilled to have mine included.

    Some true book lovers (like me) will read the digital version and still want the actual book. We love the feel and the smell of the real thing! If I love it, I want to own it.

    I don’t think we need to fear this new tool, it is another way to attract new readers and followers in our tribes!

    Just my thoughts.

  22. Colin Smith says:

    I haven’t read all the other comments, so sorry if I’m repeating what someone else has said.

    If Amazon are making copyrighted works freely available *primarily* to get people to become Prime members, that seems a little skewed, especially if it’s without the authors’ consent. However, if Amazon was made to pay some kind of fee (a percentage of every Amazon Prime membership, perhaps) to the publishers, which translated to a percentage payment to the authors, then that might be better. This is not like a library, where the books are freely loaned to anyone with a (free) library card.

    • Timothy Fish says:

      As others have said, libraries are not free. Most are paid for with taxes. In the case of a church library, it is paid for by donations, either in the form of money or in the form of books.

      As for why would want to do this, if they can encourage people to become Prime members, then they will tend to purchase books and other products through in order to make use of the free 2-day shipping.

  23. Ann Bracken says:

    Yet another issue to consider when (if) I ever get a publishing contract. Thanks for bringing it to our attention, Rachelle.

    I’d very much like to hear back from Kathryn Magendie (above) in another year or so to find out how participating in the lending program worked for her. What were the pros and cons, and what she would change, if anything?

  24. Juliette says:

    I was naively hoping public libraries would be purchasing eBooks and people with Kindles would be able to ‘check them out’ as part of their regular library membership.

    Frankly, I think paying $79 annually to use Amazon’s library is lame, especially when the big 6 aren’t part of it. It makes me feel like Amazon’s trying to get my money.

    Whatever. I’ll keep loaning/borrowing titles via my friends w/Kindles. It might be limited, but it’s free.

    • sra says:

      One thing to note is that we do pay for public libraries too. The one I work at is funded through property taxes, for example. Non-residents pay a fee to keep a card there, which is actually higher than this amazon one.

      It’s just that, for residents, it’s not an up front fee, so people tend not to realize it.

      • Juliette says:

        Ok, but I never had to notice that I was paying for my local library membership w/my taxes. =) Paying $79 just seems a little steep IMO.

        I’m wishing that Kindle owners could have free access to the the Amazon library as a thanks-for-buying-a-Kindle type of thing.

        Maybe that’s pie in the sky, but I know Amazon’s making a killing on these devices. If it weren’t for the fact that I currently live overseas, I definitely would’ve bought another eReader.

    • Timothy Fish says:


      The thing is, a bunch of us were already paying the $79 fee before added the feature of being able to borrow books. I don’t know how much I will use this feature, but it makes my Prime membership even more worth the money than it already was.

      • Juliette says:

        Ok, so if I had reason to already have Prime, I’d be pleasantly surprised. Still, putting a 12 books a year cap on it is kind of lame.

        I guess I just can’t get excited about the Amazon lending library due to how it’s currently set up!

  25. Timothy Fish says:

    The thing is, wants to sell books. At $79, Amazon Prime is not doing making them much in terms of direct profits. Even before they started adding stuff like movies and book lending, I didn’t think they were charging enough for it to pay for itself. So, it seems that their goal is to encourage customer loyalty. They only make money if customers buy books and other products. While that doesn’t guarantee they know what they’re doing, their goal is the same as ours; they want to sell books.

    • Joe Pote says:

      Excellent point, Timothy!

      Whether or not we trust Amazon’s marketing strategy, we can at least be assured that we share a common goal of wanting to sell more books.

  26. Joe Pote says:

    Very interesting!

    Rachelle, my understanding of the Amazon statements was completely different from yours.

    When I read “include titles for a fixed fee” I understood that to mean that Amazon would pay a fixed fee for each title that they would be lending (not a group of titles as you understood it).

    I also assumed (whether correctly or incorrectly) that only e-books which authors agreed could be loaned would be loaned. When you e-publish with Amazon, this is one of the questions you answer with a checkbox. Until now, it has only applied to 14 day lending between individuals. Based on the press release, my understanding, now, is that for books which the author has opted to make available for lending, the lending can now be shared among Amazon Prime users.

    Since the books still fall under normal U.S. copyright law, I would assume that Amazon is also limited on the number of copies they can simultaneously lend of a given title, based on the number of copies they have paid for. Much like a brick-and-mortar library of hard-copy books, if demand is high for a given title, then the library must either purchase more copies, or users must wait for a given copy to be returned.

    I am seeing it as very much like a public library, but with a higher level of convenience.

    I don’t know that I’m correct in any of these assumptions. It’s just what makes the most sense to me based on the Amazon press release and what little I know of copyright law.

  27. My question would be, since this is in part a contract issue, is it something writers should discuss with their agent and try to have wording included for in any future contracts?

  28. Two of my books are in the lending program. My publishers wrangled with Amazon for the best deal they could get for their authors and on a trial basis.

    So, I guess I’ll see how things go. I’ve decided to keep an open mind about all of this, otherwise it’s too stressful to sit and wring my hands over every change or new Amazon thing that looms on the horizon. I am just going to keep writing the best books I can and hope for the best.

  29. I see this as something similar to a publisher’s making books available for a limited time as free Kindle (or Nook or e-book) downloads. If someone unfamiliar with my work reads and likes one of my books by “borrowing it,” maybe they’ll buy others.

    It’s just another change in the ever-changing face of publishing. And, like my hero, obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk, change makes me nervous. But I’ll adjust.

    • Joe Pote says:

      Good point, Richard!

      As I read your comment, I laughed, remembering my days as a poor student putting myself through college.

      Sometimes, on evenings when I was dead broke (which was frequent) I would go to the local book store to browse, and get caught up in reading a novel I could not afford to buy. Most of the time, I eventually bought the book and finished it in my dorm’ room. However, there were a few books that I read completely thru on repeated visits to the bookstore.

      I figure the author/publisher still came out ahead on those, as I told my friends about them, and also bought later books by the same author.

      This is similar…

  30. Jane Steen says:

    I agree with McKenzie – writers, publishers and agents will all find ways of working within the new world that’s taking shape around the digitization of books. Some will do better than before, and some worse.

    I think the Lending Library’s a pretty cool idea. From Amazon’s standpoint it’s genius – it ties their Prime program straight into their core business. It also makes indie publishing houses into a much more attractive option for a writer looking for ways to publish, and reduces the attractiveness of the Big 6, doesn’t it? Can that really be a bad thing?

  31. Maybe I’m missing something here, but doesn’t B & N already have a LendMe program that’s free? Nook owners who network as ‘friends’ can borrow certain titles, much the way you described. Sounds like a lot of money for, as many of you mentioned, using a ‘public’ library run by Amazon.

    • And tons of Big Six titles are available.

    • Timothy Fish says:

      Prime membership gives people much more than the ability to borrow books. It is’s overarching customer loyalty program that works much like those you find with rental car companies, or airline frequent flier programs.

    • sra says:

      Aside from the aforementioned other perks, one thing to note is that we do pay for public libraries too. The one I work at is funded through property taxes, for example. Non-residents pay a fee to keep a card there, which is actually higher than this amazon one.

      It’s just that, for residents, it’s not an up front fee, so people tend not to realize it.

      • I realize we pay taxes to fund our libraries. I’ll also comment that B & N may charge more up front for some items than Amazon does, which may be why they don’t seem to charge for other perks. That being said, seems like Amazon finds a way to charge for things that don’t incur costs otherwise (i.e., paying to have a blog delivered to the kindle when all I have to do is subscribe and have it delivered to my inbox). As today’s catch phrase goes…just sayin’…and maybe more power to Amazon for their creative ways to get folks to part with their $$ more readily. What do I know? All of this is simply MHO.

  32. Timothy Fish says:

    Mostly, I think it is a good idea because it provides another opportunity for readers to find authors they would love, but haven’t yet read.

    As I read through your post, I began to think of the similarities between this and the CCLI licenses, which give churches the license to copy any music in the program. I believe, in that situation, the songwriter is paid based on how many churches report using the music and the size of the churches. All reader are the same “size” so that isn’t an issue for borrowing books. Given the amount of information normally provides publishers, I see no reason to think that authors can’t be paid based how many borrows each author had in comparison to other authors.

  33. But there is a way out. Although these are ebooks we are talking about, Amazon can decide to purchase, say, ten digital copies of each book and lend out only the ten each month. That means that each book can only be borrowed by ten individuals per month. Thus the readers unfortunate enough to miss the book that month would be forced to consider we smaller authors that need the publicity, until the following month when their favored books would be out again for lending.

  34. Since the prime membership is for $79, readers, I think, would want to read a book each month to get the best out of their payments. That would mean each reader borrowing twelve books per year. And remember, to also get the best out of their money, readers would most likely go for books that are costly, of high quality, and from popular authors, thus narrowing the books lended to those of few authors. Ms. Rowlin should pray that her publisher doesn’t enroll in the lending program

    • Timothy Fish says:

      If that’s the reason people get into the program, I’m sure they would want to do that. I got into it because it gives me free two-day shipping. I’ve gotten my money’s worth from that alone. And they keep adding features.

    • sra says:

      That just sounds like money grubbing to me. Why should I care if the 146 or 5 million or 7,320 people who read my temporarily loaned book read it digitally or hard copy? And whether they wait in line or read it all at the same time since that’s the beauty of digital?

      The number of reads will ultimately still be the same, or possibly even higher since it’s instant. It will just happen all at once. Which would honestly make me feel better about.myself, to see numbers like that.

      At any rate, we landed Apollo 11 on the moon with less technology than existed in my outdated razr phone. I really don’t think the math is going to be an issue.

  35. @Sra, it’s not like the real libraries, considering that real libraries would borrow out only the few copies, say ten, they purchased. Once the ten copies are borrowed out, they’d have to wait for them to be returned before they can borrow them out again. But this Amazon stuff is viral. Since it’s ebooks we are talking about, Amazon, I suppose, can lend out, say, a million copies of a book at once so far as readers are will to subscribe to their Prime membership.

    • Joe Pote says:

      I don’t believe that is correct, Walter.

      I may be wrong, and I’m not an expert, but my understanding of copyright law is that Amazon would not be permitted to simultaneuously loan an unlimited number of copies without first purchasing full rights from the owner of the copyright.

      I am confident that Amazon has sufficient technology to track how many copies of a given title are simultaneously loaned out, and to either limit the number of simultaneuous loans, or legally pay for them.

      I am viewing this as something very similar to loans through a public library.

  36. Camille Eide says:

    Well, yeah, but isn’t this pretty much the same as printed books loaned from a library? Are authors paid every time a book is checked out? Does it hurt or help an author to have people borrowing their book? And how many copies borrowed instead of bought are we really talking about?

    • Sra says:

      I was thinking exactly the same thing. It sounds exactly like a regular old public library to me, except that it just happens to be digital. I don’t think anyone has a problem with regular libraries, so this shouldn’t really be an issue either, it seems.

      As far as how to handle payment, they could probably just do the same thing that real libraries do. If the average real library had 10 copies of that book, pay for ten copies and that’s that.

      Anyway, the library-esque thing has always been great for me in terms of finding out what’s good. I’m much more likely to buy an actual hard copy of a book if I’ve read it already and love it.

      • Jodi Aman says:

        It is different than a library because the patrons of Kindle lending are paying for the service. So the question is what does Netflix do. How do they pay for the movies they lend?
        Jodi Aman

        • Leslie says:

          Exactly. It should be the same model.

          This also isn’t even exactly like a library model, because libraries buy the physical copies they lend out.

          • anonymously says:

            i think for $79 a year some people who don’t buy that much stuff requiring the 2-day shipping perk would expect amazon to pay for the quote/unquote license for 12 books a year for one person.

            i understand that libraries are funded through tax and amazon is not. i understand that this is not a public device, it was made by amazon, so we can’t expect it to fall under the same kind of model as a public library when private funding created this device and amazon isn’t getting paid to maintain the quote/unquote books, they have to sell stuff to make money to do that.

            what somebody should do (and amazon could do quickly) is create a kindle-like device and sell it to all the publicly funded libraries so they can lend them out and provide their own e-books and downloads. that would be the 21st century done properly, for the people and all that jazz.

          • Leslie says:

            You totally missed what I was saying, anonymously.

      • This is an interesting topic and thought. We are used to lending libraries. And word of mouth to sell our books.

        Kindle gives some away for free now. The lending is temporary. And I don’t think we can stop it. So . . .

      • carol brill says:

        I agree it’s like a brics and mortar library…except, the library has a fixed number of copies to lend and you either wait your turn for a popular book…or go out and buy it.
        Are the available copies of the ebook…infinite?

      • A huge difference here is that your local library is a non-profit. Amazon is definitely profiting from your work by offering it free as an incentive for their customers to buy into a program. And as I understand it, movie renters do pay a royalty for every rental, even though the DVD has been purchased. Does anyone know if that is still the case?

    • Timothy Fish says:

      Authors are paid, but not for every book that is checked out. Of course, in a library, books eventually wear out, so the most popular books have to be replaced. For very popular books, a library might have several copies. If were to handle it like a library, they would need to either limit the number of people with the book checked out at one time or they would need to pay the publisher based on the maximum number of books borrowed at one time. And because digital books don’t wear out, they would need to make periodic payments instead of a one time payment.

  37. If you ask me, technology can do whatever it wants. As long as stories and the written word sticks around, authors will preserve. We’ll find a way.

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