When we bought my wife a nook, and then her sister and niece got nooks of their own, a great thought was ‘hey, this LendMe feature will be GREAT’. Sadly, the three have them have yet to exchange a SINGLE BOOK, despite all being voracious readers!
Here is the promise from Barnes & Noble:
Share favorite eBooks with your friends or family. Most eBooks can be lent for up to 14 days at a time. Just choose the eBook you want to share and send it to your friend’s NOOK, computer, or handheld device enabled with our NOOK software.
In reality, if you browse the LendMe section you will find 135 books. Sounds pretty decent, until you think of the hundreds of thousands of ebooks available at B&N … and it gets worse when you start looking at the books offering LendMe support! To be fair, you can lend the latest Ken Follett book, or the entire Hunger Games trilogy, Jonathon Franzon’s Freedom, and stuff worth reading like Water for Elephants.
But even before leaving page one, you see this list becoming dominated by older titles, obscure stuff, and way too many classics that are already public domain from Gutenberg and other places.
So now we are getting a similar capability from Amazon:
later this year, we will be introducing lending for Kindle, a new feature that lets you loan your Kindle books to other Kindle device or Kindle app users. Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. 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.
Again, pardon me for being skeptical … but I have read one too many posts from Carly Z to believe that the greedy and technophobic publishers will do anything that will hurt the potential for a single book sale at the highest possible margin. So I foresee a few books being offered, enough to say ‘look at this cool feature” while only being marginally useful.
And it is too bad, because if there is an area where physical books offer much greater value it is in lendability. Feeling that once you buy a book it is stuck on your reader forever is a tough thing for folks like my wife who never re-read (I am a chronic re-reader, so ebooks have always been good for me) – but even for people like that at least a single loan-out felt like a reasonable compromise.
I really hope that Amazon can manage to get this done differently, but somehow I anticipate that they have too many other irons in the fire to pursue a great expansion of LendMe capabilities with all that much vigor. They have the feature, so both Amazon and the publishers have something to tout. I just hope that what they DO offer will work for enough people to give it some actual value.
What do you think? Have you ever used the LendMe on your nook?