Amazon announced today that Kindle owners now have the option to checkout books as they would from a lending library.
The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library offers access to 5,000 books for free–including 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers–for Amazon Prime members. Users can borrow one book a month to read on their Kindles with no due date.
This is yet another feature to bolster Amazon Prime, which costs $79.00 for an annual membership, and already included free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of nearly 13,000 movies and TV shows.
According to Russell Grandinetti, vice president for Kindle content, who was interviewed in the WSJ, Amazon will pay participating publishers a flat rate for their titles. A more limited group of publishers will be paid the regular wholesale price for each rented book, as if they had sold the book.
For Amazon’s part, the move is a clear push to sell Kindle devices and to get people signed up for Amazon Prime. This is evident because both are necessary to access The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Amazon does not extend the borrowing function to smartphone apps (no iPhone or iPad) or web browsers.
Given that Amazon will be selling each Kindle Fire tablet at a loss, the company will be relying on people paying for content in order to get its tablet venture into the black. Prime memberships should help to do this, so we could see even more benefits coming for Prime members down the line.