Amazon intros Kindle book lending for Prime members

Just ahead of the release of Amazon’s highly anticipated Kindle Fire tablet, the company has added a new perk for Amazon Prime subscribers that could be the icing on the cake for future Fire owners. Beginning immediately, all Kindle eBook readers and the Kindle Fire tablet will have access to what Amazon has dubbed Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, a stash of thousands of books that may be “borrowed” indefinitely for free. Users may borrow one title per month, and the list of available books currently includes more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers. “Owning a Kindle just got even better. Today, we’re introducing a new Prime benefit built for Kindle: The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “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.” BGR went hands-on with the Kindle Fire during Amazon’s press conference, and we can definitely see the retail giant making a dent in the tablet market quickly with this $199 offering, which launches on November 15th. The plethora of value-added services available on the device for Prime members will only improve the slate’s odds in a crowded market currently dominated by Apple. Some analysts believe Amazon could sell as many as 5 million tablets during the fourth quarter alone. Amazon’s Lending Library press release follows below.

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—November 2, 2011—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, The Hunger 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 http://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 http://www.amazon.com/prime.

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