Friday, June 22, 2012

Borrowing books from the Kindle Owners Lending Library

Amazon has some interesting benefits for Amazon Prime members.  Amazon Prime is a membership program that costs $79 a year. The most-often used benefit is that you get free 2-day shipping on physical items you order from Amazon—print books, DVDs, whatever—so long as it's sent to you by Amazon and not a retail partner.   There are also movies and TV shows you can watch online for free, and there is the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KLL or KOLL).

The KOLL is more limited because it can only be used by Prime members who also own Kindles (either e-ink Kindles or a Kindle Fire). I think one reason a lot of Kindle owners don't know about KOLL is that not that many of them have Prime; when your books are digital, you don't care about 2-day shipping. Also, borrowing books is one of the few functions that can't be done from the web; you must initiate borrowing from the Kindle itself.

If you are browsing or searching the Kindle store and you see a prime symbol  like the one above, that tells you that the book can be borrowed for free by Kindle-owning Prime members. To borrow the book, you will have to find it in the Kindle store from the Kindle itself.

To browse the KOLL (assuming you qualify)  do the following steps:
  1. Turn on the wireless on your Kindle
  2. Go to the Kindle storefront
  3. Select the Browse — All Categories option
  4. That brings up a pick-list; select the last item, Kindle Lending Library
  5. Once you are in the Kindle Lending Library, you can browse by genre and then sort by what's new or what's popular; be prepared for a huge amount of porn if you don't pick a specific genre
  6. You can also search as usual using the search bar and specifying an author or title.
Once you find the book you want, if it's in the KOLL there should be a Borrow for Free option next to the Buy button. Select that, and the book will then be downloaded to your Kindle.  The limitations are that you can only borrow one book per month and you can only borrow books that are permitted to be in the KOLL by the publishers; however, you can take as long as you need the read the book. All the Happy Potter books are included, as well as any book that participates in the Kindle Select program.  Also, Amazon will keep any notes and highlighting, so if you buy a book after borrowing it, you won't lose your notes.

Of my books, only Shades of Empire and Where Magic Rules are in the KOLL. If you're eligible, check them out (literally!).  Did I mention Amazon pays the author a fee every time the book is borrowed?

Note:  As of March, 2013, only my latest book King of Trees is in the KOLL. I don't leave books in the KDP Select program forever because to do that, I would have to not sell them anywhere else. 

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