Amazon.com this morning announced the rollout of its Kindle e-book lending program to more than 11,000 U.S. libraries, confirming what we suspected after the initiative surfaced this week at two libraries in the Seattle region.
It’s a big move that promises to further boost interest in the Seattle company’s Kindle devices and software.
The program lets library patrons download e-books to their Amazon Kindle devices or Kindle apps on smartphones, tablets and computers. To check out a book, users will go to the website of their library and look for the option to place a hold or check out a digital book for the Kindle. As part of the check-out process, the system will redirect users to the Amazon.com site, which will walk them through the process of transferring the content to a device via WiFi or USB.
More details in this Amazon FAQ.
Amazon’s news release quotes Marcellus Turner, Seattle’s city librarian: “This is a welcome day for Kindle users in libraries everywhere and especially our Kindle users here at The Seattle Public Library. We’re thrilled that Amazon is offering such a new approach to library ebooks that enhances the reader experience.”
Although the number of available copies of an e-book is theoretically limitless, licensing restrictions mean that a limited number of each title will be available, even in digital form.
Amazon is extending its Whispersync technology to the library books for synchronizing margin notes, highlights and bookmarks. It’s also offering Facebook and Twitter integration as part of the library books for sharing content with social networks.