Lending coming to the Kindle
Later this year, Kindle users will be able to lend out certain titles to other Kindle users, once, for up to 14 days. You'll also soon be able to read Kindle newspaper and magazine subscriptions on other devices.
In a forum post today, Amazon made a couple of small but significant Kindle announcements. First, it's soon going to make Kindle newspapers and magazines readable on any Kindle app, "so you can always read Kindle periodicals even if you don't have your Kindle with you or don't yet own a Kindle."
Second, the company said that later this year a lending feature will come to the Kindle, though it has the same restrictions as the current lending feature on the Barnes & Noble Nook.
"In the coming weeks, many newspapers and magazines will be available on our Kindle apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, and then we'll be adding this functionality to Kindle for Android and our other apps down the road," the post says. "Our vision is 'buy once, read everywhere,' and we're excited to make this possible for Kindle periodicals in the same way that it works now for Kindle books. More details when we launch this in the coming weeks."
Like on the Nook, the Amazon lending feature will allow the lender to farm out certain books once for a 14-day period, and the lender cannot read the book while it's loaned out. You can loan a book to anyone with a Kindle--or a Kindle app--but it's important to note that publishers and rights holders will determine whether this feature is enabled or not. Amazon doesn't say exactly when the lending feature will arrive, but it does say it will happen this year.
While the headline of this post calls out the new lending feature, in many ways the periodical announcement is just as significant because it presents competition for Apple, which offers periodical subscriptions in its App Store. Instead of buying those subscriptions through Apple (and giving Apple its cut), you could buy them through Amazon and use the Kindle app on the iPad or another mobile device. We're not saying which option is better, we're just pointing out the potential business dynamics.