walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Amazon's lending library

No, I'm not talking about the thing with Overdrive. I'm writing about this:


"The Kindle Owners' Lending Library allows eligible U. S. Amazon Prime members who own Kindle devices to choose from thousands of books to borrow for free -- including more than 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers -- as frequently as a book a month, with no due dates."

There's been some coverage of this. The Big 6, afaik, are not participating, and I believe the Authors' Guild and others have specifically come out against it (but it's possible I've confused more than one Amazon thing -- Turow/the Authors' Guild has a real I'm against it thing going on when it comes to Amazon). Rich Adin has a column out on the topic, which I stumbled across over on The Digital Reader. I like reading Nate Hoffelder, even when I don't agree with him. Not so with things that show up on his blog written by other people.

The post had one merit: it reminded me to blog about a particularly nefarious aspect of the program which commentators thus far appear blissfully unaware of. Most definitions of heavy user (<-- not their term) for book purchaser research purposes come down to a dozen books a year/a book a month. Sometimes it's ten books a year. It's a number that I'm not likely to forget, because every single time I run across it, my head explodes. It's sort of like whenever I run across the 50-books-a-year people and realize that's a _minimum_ goal, not a _maximum_ goal. (When I say I have a book problem, and call books my substance of choice, I am not joking.)

Can it be an accident that the Kindle upper limit is the same number?

When people comment about exclusivity issues with the lending library, they should be worried less about exclusivity rules on the authors. They should be a lot more worried about what happens when someone soaks up all the "purchasing" that frequent book purchasers do by Giving It Away for Free. The invisible, implicit rules are often the important ones.

ETA: Surveyors are starting to figure out that there's a smaller group of people who buy way more than the subgroups they had previously focused on.


That's at the book-a-week level.
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