Amazon to allow limited Kindle book lending

With e-reader devices jostling for position and headlines in a hoped-for pre-Christmas rush, Amazon and Barnes and Noble have both got news for digital bookworms.

Amazon to allow limited Kindle book lending

Amazon says it will make lending an option for users of its Kindle services, with anyone buying a book from the store able to lend it to a friend, provided the publishers agree to terms.

While the service is an improvement that puts the Kindle on a usability par with that old world rival, the paperback, the licensing issues mean the lend-to-a-friend service imposes severe restrictions.

“Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender [who bought the book] cannot read the book during the loan period,” Amazon said in a statement. “Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.”

Nonetheless, the announcement could well lead to websites that will give Kindle owners the chance to pair up and swap books for a fortnight at a time.

Amazon says the service should go live later this year.

Rival book seller Barnes and Noble, meanwhile is due to launch an update to its Nook e-reader this week, with a colour screen expected to feature in the new device.

The Android powered device is expected to have a 7in touchscreen display, and speculation suggests it will be an LCD rather than colour E Ink screen. UK availability is unclear at present.

Ereaders are expected to be big sellers globally in the Christmas period and beyond. In a Harris Interactive survey of adults that do not already own an ereader, more than one in ten expected to buy one in the next six months.

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