Kindle users in the US will soon be able to borrow books from their local libraries after Amazon announced a deal with Overdrive, the company which powers ebook lending services for many libraries in the US and Europe.
Ebook lending is already available to users of rival ebook which support ePub files protected by Adobe DRM.
An Overdrive app available for smartphones and tablets, including Apple’s iPad, also allows users to borrow from their library.
Today’s announcement, though widely reported as revolutionary, merely closes a competitive disadvantage of the Kindle platform which, because of its closed DRM system, was unable to access existing ebook lending services.
With many ebook buyers expressing unhappiness at the rise in ebook prices following the adoption of agency pricing by publishers, the arrival of library services on the platform is likely to be welcomed by many Kindle owners.
Amazon’s Jay Marine said the firm was “excited that millions of Kindle customers will be able to borrow Kindle books from their local libraries.”
Borrowed books can be read on the Kindle reader as well as the Kindle apps available for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.
Annotations made on a borrowed book will be saved for future access if the title is borrowed again in the future.
“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them.”
OverDrive CEO Steve Potash said he was “excited to be working with Amazon to offer Kindle Library Lending to the millions of customers who read on Kindle and Kindle apps.”
Amazon has yet to reveal if the service will be expanded to the UK.