A few days ago, Amazon announced its free eBook lending service to Amazon Prime members. I read this program summary from AppAdvice and thought, “Uh oh. Here it is. The library apocalypse.”
I didn’t rush to blog about this, which actually worked out in my favor. Cooler heads prevail. Bobbi Newman of Librarian By Day has this very succinct, reasonable assessment.
In short, there isn’t enough content freely available at Amazon’s lending library to compete with the sheer volume of free content available in public libraries. The one free eBook per month (with restrictions) cannot compete with the free access to multiple books (ie. “all you can read”) available through public libraries.
Also noteworthy: this service only works for actual Kindle users. This service is intentionally built not to work with iOS Kindle apps. This is mostly about an incentive to give people one more reason to buy a very moderately priced Kindle eReader or the new Kindle Fire. Great PR move.
Amazon Prime is a good deal and this free lending service looks pretty interesting. I see a few titles in the list that I want to read myself. A bit tempting to try. Amazon is trying to lure heavy readers into buying their eBooks from Amazon. That’s fine, but most serious readers I know use both the public library and Amazon.
What do you think? Can Amazon lure you away from your local public library for the price of one free borrowed eBook every month? Or, might the reading tent be big enough to accommodate more than one option for getting free stuff to read when you want to read it?