Friday, November 04, 2011

The Kindle Library and the Library Kindle

Amazon has just made an interesting announcement. Subscribers to its Prime service (which costs $79/year and includes other goodies such as free 2-day shipping and streaming of many movies and TV shows) will now be able to borrow selected Kindle books (only for Kindle devices; Kindle app users are out of luck). Read about it here: Amazon Launches Kindle Lending Library. I have to say that I'm still not quite ready to become a Prime user, although I'm getting close. $79/year is less than $7/month, which is competitive with Netflix, and the more benefits Amazon adds, the more attractive it becomes.

But I'm just getting used to the OTHER library service that is connected to the library, and that is the ability to borrow books for my Kindle from my library. I still find this amazing, and have just borrowed my second Kindle book. And as much as I like actual libraries (my local library is functional, but not exactly enticing), the ability to borrow library books without actually going to the library is a big plus. Here's how it works. If your library participates and if you have a library card, you go online to your library's website, click on the "Overdrive" icon (it says "Download AudioBooks and eBooks") which in my case takes me to a site that is shared by several libraries and lists the available books. Click, borrow, download, move to Kindle (via wifi or the USB port), read. Now that I know how it's done, it only takes a few seconds.

Yesterday I finished Winter's Bone by Daniel Woordrell. I mentioned that on Facebook and a friend suggested that if I liked it, I might also like Hell at the Breech by Tom Franklin. A couple of minutes later, a borrowed copy was on my Kindle. I love owning books, of the dead-tree variety or on Kindle, but this has awakened in me the real value of public libraries. You mean I can have this book for a couple of weeks and read it and I don't have to pay anything? Wow. What an innovation!


Ann Graham said...

I just wish I liked reading stories on a screen. Give me a paper copy and a pencil any day over a screen. (I'm not a Luddite, btw.)

Clifford Garstang said...

I read more paper books than I do digital books, and I definitely love the objects. But the convenience of the Kindle (and other eReaders) can be a boon, and I've gotten used to the Kindle screen, which isn't at all like a computer screen. I also read some on a tablet, and I kind of like that, too.