Kindle To Let You Lend Books, Just Like A Real Book... Except Not

from the just-like-a-book...-or-not dept

Apparently, Amazon is adding a feature to the Kindle that will let you "lend" books to other Kindle users. Of course, it sounds quite like the ridiculously limited lending found on the Barnes & Noble Nook ebook reader as well. You see, when you "lend" the book, you can't read it yourself... "just like a real book." But, um, you can only lend it to other Kindle users, just like a real book (oh, no actually). And, you can only lend it for 14 days, just like a real book (oh, no actually). And... you can only lend it out once, just like a real book (oh, no actually). It really makes me wonder how incredibly soul-deadening it must be to be a developer working on products like this where you're focused on limiting what the technology allows.


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    R. Miles (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    The answer to life.

    "It really makes me wonder how incredibly soul-deadening it must be to be a developer working on products like this where you're focused on limiting what the technology allows."
    Imagine yourself in a sealed and locked room with Barry Manilow playing on a Bose system... as sung by Roseanne in the same manner she did the National Anthem but with a nasal infection.

    x25.

    As with anything in this manner, one has to do what the boss says, no matter how wrong they may be.

    It's job security because in twenty minutes, it'll change.

    I said this was going to be my last job in this field and if it's over, I'm done. My next job will have me greeting people with "Welcome to Walmart".

    Either that, or Dark Helmet's personal helmet polisher.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:37am

      Re: The answer to life.

      "Either that, or Dark Helmet's personal helmet polisher."

      Not that there's anything wrong with that...

       

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        Juvenile Delinquent, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:21am

        Re: Re: The answer to life.

        I totally had an innocent view of that statement until you posted your reply.
        I almost had turkey go through my nose from laughing while I eat my lunch.
        Be careful what you use to polish your helmet!

         

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      jsf (profile), Oct 26th, 2010 @ 6:36am

      Re: The answer to life.

      As with anything in this manner, one has to do what the boss says, no matter how wrong they may be.
      Which is the type of job most of us have. I've worked in IT for 14+ years and did 6 years of embedded systems programming before that. Other then a few minor details I don't think I have agreed with much that my bosses have decided. But you have to pay the bills somehow.

       

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    Jason, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    Dom Frollo:

    "This will kill that."

    Yeah but don't worry DF, somebody will always come along to make sure 'this' sucks too.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 8:45am

    AAAHHH! The stupidity has set my brain is on fire!

    I pity whoever had to implement this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    There goes another one

    There's a really big advertising push for Kindle in London right now and I read a fair number of books and thought "Oooo shiny gadget.. must have...".

    Then I looked at the book prices and thought "Well OK... a *bit* steep maybe considering it's electronic and I don't have a physical book and it costs nothing to produce a copy.... but at least they haven't tried to charge anywhere near the same as a real book. Could be handy... nice.. might get me one of those"

    Then I looked a bit deeper. "Hmmm loads of DRM, tied down to within an inch of it's life, proprietary format.... no cross-compatibilty....Hmmm what if I want to read the book I bought on my smartphone instead? Well, no I think I'll just wait for it to take off and some open source hardware with a similar screen/battery life... won't be long and standardised formats will become popular too if it takes off. Yep don't bother right now I'll buy something better later"

    So, yes, well done Amazon a sale lost to someone who was perfectly willing to pay for your product but won't because you've made it all but unuseable in your frenzy to prevent "piracy".

    Perhaps I should be fair to Amazon... I guess it's likely that many of the restrictions come from publishers as much as Amazon....

     

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      TheStupidOne, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 11:02am

      Re: There goes another one

      While it is far from a perfect solution, other ereaders use the epub format which is nothing but a zip file with a bunch of html and css files. And for most ebook stores you can use a simple script to strip the DRM from epub books. Also use websites like feedbooks.com to find free books that are uploaded by the authors themselves.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 4:16pm

        Re: Re: There goes another one

        Sure if I don't mind being naughty... but then again if I don't it's probably best to wait for a device that enables that better anyway.

        But wouldn't it be kind of nice to have a business model that doesn't immediately get you thinking that way? You know.... just for the change of pace because it's never been tried before?

         

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    Another User, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    Well I guess this means libraries will be able to implement digital checkout. Two weeks is the average time you can have a library book out so it will mostly work. You just can't renew or re-check books.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:19am

    Non-wet water is sold because morons buy it

    E-books, copies of which cannot be copied, but that can be lent, briefly, can be found in the goblin e-bookshop & e-library at the end of the rainbow, along with a load of other rocking horse shit.

    Do yourself a favour. Don't buy it.

    • Pay your favourite authors to write.

    • Make your own copies. Give some to friends.

    • Advise the publisher to find another job - the market for copies has ended.

    • If you want a copy printed, pay a printer to print one.

     

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    First Lieutenant Evil, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:27am

    soul-deadening to the users

    It really makes me wonder how incredibly soul-deadening it must be to be a developer working on products like this where you're focused on limiting what the technology allows.

    C'mon Mike, you know we sit around at design meetings dreaming this stuff up. We only hire the most sadistic of developers. We salivate over the mere thought of bringing pain to users. The next release will have sharks with freakin laser beams. Look out copythieves, we are going to rule the world. BWAAAHAAAHAAAHAAA!!!

     

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      Free Capitalist (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:45am

      Re: soul-deadening to the users

      [I have not yet begun to troll.]


      Welcome back, you. Did you get that dribble on your chin cleaned up yet?

       

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        The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:50am

        Re: Re: soul-deadening to the users

        Yikes, I thought it was satire. Which one of us is wrong?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: soul-deadening to the users

        Adjust your humor sensor, douche bag.

         

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          Free Capitalist (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:39am

          Re: Re: Re: soul-deadening to the users

          Did I confuse satire with a troll from another two threads? Bah there might be a little more white-space in that gravatar...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: soul-deadening to the users

            Apparently, each article/thread has different snowflakes. So the same AC will not have the same snowflake across articles/threads. Duh.

             

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    Overcast (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    The kindle is a great concept, but a horrid implementation.

    It most certainly doesn't offer any impressive functionality over what a real book offers - actually less.

    Go figure...

    A collection of bound paper is still superior to a high tech electronic device. But only because of DRM, lol

    It's a shame to see the potential of new electronics so horribly 'caged' by these companies. I guess it's why I just 'pass' on most of them, PARTICULARLY news ones. You never know how you'll get shafted on 'new' stuff.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:42am

      Re:

      "The kindle is a great concept, but a horrid implementation."

      The same is true of most recent tech. Blu-Ray, iOS, etc. (And I'm a Mac fanboi, so there.)

      I still buy DVDs because the storage space is worth it, usually, and it's trivial to defeat the 'encryption' if I want to. That's a frakin' SELLING POINT!

      I think where we've run into problems is due to the hardware/software conglomerates. Sony, Apple (not so much with the music, but ye gods with the videos) etc.

       

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    C.R.Hatfield (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:33am

    Re: Kindle To Let You Lend Books, Just Like A Real Book... Except Not

    I'm ok with all parts except the "lend only once" part, the rest sounds reasonable for lending of digital data and for the few of us, who often lend out books to our friends, only for the friend to mis-place or forget we actually lent it to them? UGH, I hate that! So 14 day limit is a GOOD thing IMHO! and it only makes sense that kindles can only lend to other kindles, anything else would require 2 competing companies to work together to make their equipment work together in lending and receiving and thats not going to happen in this or any biz.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:48am

      Re: Re: Kindle To Let You Lend Books, Just Like A Real Book... Except Not

      Not to diss you or anything, but this takes the biscuit for ridiculousness. Who wants to "buy" a book that they clearly don't own?
      1) Lend only to other Kindle users. "anything else would require 2 competing companies to work together". God forbid the publishing industry does something that increases value to their products and works in the customer's interests.
      "Hey Joe, wanna borrow this paperback? Its a bestseller"
      "Sure!"
      "Hey Joe? Wanna borrow my ebook? Oh sorry, you don't have a Kindle, you have a different reader. Sorry!"
      2) 14 days? Again, its supposed to be my property (wait, it isn't). What if its the Bible, or the Great Dune Trilogy or another 1000 page book? I'm an infamous speed reader, but it would take me more than 14 days to read a 1000 page ebook I borrowed off a friend.
      3) Lending it once? So the publishing industry charges me a sale price, but then dictates what I'm allowed to do afterward? This isn't copyright related, people have borrowed books for thousands of years.

      What if I buy e-books for school? And I finished Course XYZ? If they were paper books, I could re-sell them. I'd have no use for them, and I could always use the money. But here comes the e-book, a concept that is astounding in theory but that is so bogged down in ridicoulous publisher controls that I, as a consumer, am not interested in buying. You heard me publishing industry. I do not want to buy something that comes with a great long chain!

       

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        vivaelamor (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re: Re: Kindle To Let You Lend Books, Just Like A Real Book... Except Not

        "God forbid the publishing industry does something that increases value to their products and works in the customer's interests."

        My mobile phone provider just teamed up with a competitor to share coverage. Took them long enough.

         

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    lostalaska (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:43am

    Baby step in the right direction?

    I was going to say it was a step in the right direction, but it looks more like a knee jerk reaction by them to try and address some of the issues people keep bringing up with digital books, while not actually addressing the issues.

    I generally don't buy hard covers of books unless it's something I know I want to hold onto for a long time and will use a lot. Most of the time I buy paperbacks so looking at the prices of many of the books on kindle my thoughts are it's still cheaper to buy the book in paperback to read it and I have the option of giving it away to a friend once I'm done reading it. So cheaper, far more versatile and I don't have to pay a premium to read it on my "e" device. Guess I'll check back in a few years to see if anything changes, until then I'm okay reading most of my books the old fashioned way. Plus I can act all smug on the airplane while I keep reading my book during take off.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 11:01am

    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.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 11:26am

      Re:

      "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."

      And why is that? They had no choice when books were actual things, so why grant them additional rights now?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 9:44pm

        Re: Re:

        Seriously. And why bother with the lending crap anyway (for digital)? Price ebooks at 5 bucks or less and people would just BUY their own copies and it would probably work out close to the same in the end.

         

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    Erin B., Oct 25th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    I really enjoy my Kindle, though I dragged my heels forever getting one specifically because the DRM/price juxtaposition felt absurd. If I'm going to be so strictly limited in what I can do with the books I pay for, then a high price tag seems idiotic, especially given that the resale value is literally nonexistent.

    On the flipside: reducing limitations means that the present price for ebooks seems completely reasonable for me. The last ebook I purchased was $13; presently it's only available in hardback, which retails for $26. $13 is awfully steep for something I can read only on a finite number of devices, can't lend out to friends, and can't resell. $13 is, in my mind, perfectly reasonable for something I can read with all the benefits of the Kindle device, share with friends, resell, or trade away.

    I don't need my Kindle to perfectly mirror the experience of reading a book. As it stands, I prefer the Kindle: it's easier to make notation for books I read professionally without sullying the actual pages, the adjustable text size and eye-friendly screen is a Godsend, and the ability to carry around the equivalent of a pile of books is basically a dream come true for a dyed-in-the-wool bibliophile. Part of the reason that I went ahead and bought one, finally, was because I hope that as the market expands, publishers will relax restrictions.

    It's understandable that the publishing industry is wary of "giving too much away," -- at least at the launch of this brave new idea of mainstream digital publishing -- especially given the way the recording industry has been squawking about bleeding revenue because of them durn internet pirates. I just wish they'd, you know, pull their heads out of the dank stinkhole they've stuck them in.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 4:12pm

      Honesty? Here? Surely not! Aren't you all supposed to wear eyepatches or something?

      Part of the reason that I went ahead and bought one, finally, was because I hope that as the market expands, publishers will relax restrictions

      Oops! Experience seems to suggest that might have been a tad of a vain hope.
      Well granted as e-books become more mainstream, apps to easily convert formats and rip DRM are likely to proliferate, probably in inverse proportion to the ever more draconian laws banning you from doing so.
      The publishers of course are unlikely to see that making their product unusable has anything to do with the "total lawlessness" that will ensue and rabidly deny any suggestion that if they relaxed restictions and dropped prices a bit they might actually make more money from people who actually wouldn't mind paying for it if it was reasonable.... OK I'll stop ranting now and put down my crystal ball.

      Basically, yes I suspect your Kindle will prove a very flexible tool in due course as long as you don't plan to remain as honest as you seem to have been so far.... or by some miracle the publishers/manufacturers notice in time that when even people who actually went and bought the thing are saying it's a bit steep and restrictive it's probably time for a re-think.

       

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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 25th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    I have a "pile" of ebooks

    On my external hard drive I have about 20GB of downloaded ebooks. PDF, .txt, .doc, you name it, I have it.
    Now heres the thing. First off, they were free. Second, is that they were easily obtainable. Third, is any compatible program can read them, without having to go through publisher-laden DRM. Fourth, if I want to, I can give a copy to my friends easily, many of whom wouldn't be able to afford to buy the relevant document in book form anyway.
    Now against that, we have the mobile e-reader market. First, if I buy an e-reader, I can only read documents that are in the format that reader, well, reads. Strike one.
    Second, is the cost. Not just in terms of actual money either. I've just checked, and Amazon.co.uk Kindle e-books aren't available in Ireland (but American Amazon does work...for some reason). Strike two and three for cost and ease of obtaining/using.
    And Strike four is I can't easily transfer any purchased e-books to a friends. I know, there are a myriad of ways, but they involve time and effort, which I wouldn't want to go into.

    So tell me, publishing industry. I, as a consumer, am getting better value simply by infringing copyright and downloading the e-books without paying. If you could somehow give me equal or better value, then yes, I would pay (I do pay for paper/hardbacks). But as it stands at the moment, I get NO value in return for my money.

     

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    Rick, Oct 25th, 2010 @ 10:14pm

    Kindle is looking more attractive now

    I rarely buy books in any format. This might cause me to start buying books for a couple of reasons.

    1. If I can buy one series and share it with a friend who buys another series and shares it with me I can read two books for the price of one. If we add a third friend then 3 for 1. We all just have to be able to read these books in 14 days or less or borrow each other's Kindles.

    2. If I can get magazine and newspaper subscriptions on my kindle and also read them on my smartphone (with the Kindle App) I may subscribe to more magazines and newspapers since I can read them on my smartphone anytime I find myself stuck waiting around for something.

    I was looking really hard at the Nook due to their sharing feature and their ability to read ebooks in B&N stores. With the lending feature being added to the Kindle it gives the edge to the Kindle as they have more books available. I wish Amazon had stores where I could go and read ebooks like B&N then it would be an easy choice!

     

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    Chris Ball (profile), Oct 26th, 2010 @ 6:31am

    14 days is better than forever

    A friend of mine has had my real-book copy of Jared Diamond's Guns Germs & Steel for almost three years now. We now live in different towns and it's pretty difficult to get it back from him. When you look at it that way, maybe the Kindle system isn't all bad...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2010 @ 7:20am

      Re: 14 days is better than forever

      When you look at it that way, maybe the Kindle system isn't all bad...

      Wouldn't argue so much if it included functionality to allow me to limit how long I "loan" a book out for (though what am I loaning exactly since it doesn't really exist as a physical entity in either place?), but don't you think if the pubisher or whoever really feel they must include such arbitary controls, that having the providor force a "1 size fits all" solution on everyone who has paid for the product is a bit short sighted?

      Dumb though I might consider it to limit the functionality of an electronic "book" to that of a physical one, I could at least see an argument but why would you from scratch built a model that has less functionality than the product it purports to replace?

      In cynic-mode the only reason I can see is that it's the publishers intent to make e-books unattractive to try and make it a "fad" and prevent the "problems" the music and film industries are having with their business models. If so that too is desperately short-sighted.

      However, as they say; "Never attribute to malice what can adequately be blamed on stupidity.", so who knows?

       

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    Bob Shear, Dec 18th, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Kindle

    It's absurdly restrictive. Part of the deal for a small, light, high quality reader that costs $139. Why hasn't someone designed a converter to a more open format (mobi)?

     

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    Bob Shear, Dec 18th, 2010 @ 9:34am

    Kindle again

    Got curious. I hear it's called MobiDeDRM. CALIBRE DOES THE REST, THEY SAY.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 4:12am

    Make up

    They're just making up for the Trillions in lost revenue before digital readers - when people would lend, give, and resell books without Amazon, the publisher, or the author being able to receive additional income - or from lost revenue because the friend didn't have to buy the book themselves.

     

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    John, Jan 27th, 2011 @ 6:17am

    They should just allow transfers of the books.

    Sites are cropping up to allow you to share books with strangers, so publishers will see more abuse with this system than if they just allow a resale of books.

    Think of it. I could 'give' anyone a book. I loose it and now they have it. They can choose to give it back or give it to someone else. Just like a real book. This would allow a resale market (used books). But it will also stop people from lending to people they don't know. If I know I get my book back 14 days later, I don't care who I lend to.

    One last thing, to help remove value from the digital book, only allow the resale 2 steps away from the original owner. So if I sell you a book used, you know you will only be able to sell it to one other person. This seems fine for you, but the last person in the chain isn't going to pay as much. That means you aren't going to want to pay as much either, since you know your resale will be drastically lower.

     

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    Flabbergasted, Mar 8th, 2012 @ 5:53am

    Do you think it's fair?

    To steal??
    The author of an ebook deserves consideration too - let's face it books can be shared electronically at lightning speed and to literally 100's at the touch of a button. Is that fair to the author?? Ebooks are priced low as it is - is it so unreasonable to restrict the sharing.
    Be fair - fork over your .99 cents will ya so teh author can get his lousy .69 for you to enjoy his work.

     

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    clan, Aug 23rd, 2013 @ 7:25pm

    ebooks can be loaned for twice at most?

    That's ridiculous. One merit of eBooks is that they can be copied and transferred without restrictions. Despite of Kindle DRM, why add the 2-time restrictions to loaned items. The owner has no access to the item when it is lent out, that's enough. Why does Amazon make even lending more inconvenience than paper books?!

    Anyway, I hope you guys try borrowing books from libraries as well, though this may be not feasible for every one. There should be open libraries in your local play. Many libraries have supported eBook.

    This is about how to borrow Kindle books on Kindle Fire. Hope you guys who haven't used local libraries will benefit from it.
    http://www.epubor.com/how-to-borrow-books-from-library-for-kindle-fire.html

     

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