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Amazon Kindle to open up to library lending

April 20, 2011 |  9:34 am

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Amazon.com announced a new effort on Wednesday that will allow Kindle users to check out e-books from more than 11,000 public libraries sometime later this year.

The move comes about a month after Amazon blocked Lendle, a startup company that used to allow Kindle users to loan e-books to one another, from accessing its online e-book databases.

The Seattle-based retail giant did not specify when its "Kindle Library Lending" program would start, but the company did say that the perks of reading a purchased e-book on a Kindle e-reading device or through a Kindle app will be in place -- such as syncing of notes across Kindle apps and readers, finding the last page read and highlighting of text.

The Kindle is the most popular e-reader on the market and it's also Amazon's best-selling item, though the world's largest online retailer won't say just how many Kindles it has sold.

Amazon said its Kindle library lending will be available for all generations of Kindle e-readers and its free Kindle apps found on desktops, laptops and devices, such as many popular smartphones and tablet computers.

The company did not say how long the lending period for Kindle e-books would be, or if there were any restrictions on the number of checkouts for any books.

Barnes & Noble bookstores introduced its Nook e-reader in 2009 and since its launch, the Nook has offered library e-book lending.

As our sister-blog Jacket Copy covered last month, publisher HarperCollins has imposed its "26-checkout limit," which forces libraries to repurchase an e-book every 26 times the title has been loaned out.

The HarperCollins policy has left many cash-strapped libraries frustrated. Other publishers, such as Macmillan and Simon & Schuster (two of the major six publishers in the U.S.), don't yet offer their e-books to libraries.

RELATED:

Amazon pulls the plug on Kindle e-book loan service Lendle

E-book sales triple from a year ago, now top-selling book format

Random House switches to e-book agency model; little bookseller chagrined

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: An Amazon Kindle e-reader on top of an Apple iPad, which can run a Kindle app for reading e-books. Credit: Kodomut via Flickr

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