As rumored, Amazon has launched a new service for Kindle owners who also happen to belong to Amazon Prime — the Kindle Lending Library. The service allows Kindle owners to download a book a month for free from a library of over 5,000 titles, including 100 New York Times bestsellers. According to the Wall Street Journal, however, that library does not include titles from the six largest book publishers in the US and so may not include all the titles you're hoping for. Note also that we said "Kindle owners," as the service doesn't work with the Kindle apps on iOS, Android, webOS, or desktop.
Once a book is borrowed, it can be re-downloaded for free at any point in the future. Books that are included in the free lending library will have a "Prime" logo next to them and a "Borrow for free" button beneath the traditional "Buy" button. There will also be a separate section within the Kindle book store for books that are available to borrow. Amazon says that they won't impose any due dates on books, though users will only be able to have one book out at a time and users will lose access if they cancel their Prime membership. Unfortunately, the service is only available in the US.
Just as with any other Kindle book, your notes, highlights and bookmarks in borrowed books will be saved, so you'll have them later if you purchase or re-borrow the book. Books are borrowed from a Kindle device, and customers can have one book out at a time. When customers want to borrow a new book, any borrowed book can easily be returned right from their device.
The service will work with any Kindle and is free for Amazon Prime members, a service that currently costs $79 a year and offers reduced shipping rates and some free video streaming. Amazon can now add free books to that list, which is nice setup for the upcoming Kindle Fire launch, don't you think?