Dec 24, 2011
The Kindle e-reader allows you to carry around entire bookshelves worth of titles with you, but what if you want to share one of those titles with a friend? Unlike handing over a trusty paperback, just because you bought the electronic version of a book doesn't mean you have to fork over your device to let a friend read something off your virtual shelf.
Kindle books can be loaned via the Web, allowing your book buddy to read the title on whatever device he or she chooses without your having to part with your own e-reader. Not all books purchased on the Kindle are available to be loaned out, but those that are can be shared with friends for up to 14 days at a time for no charge. Books are automatically returned after that period, so you don't have to chase your friend down to get your favorite novel back.
Check your bookshelf
To determine if a book you own is lendable, check your virtual bookshelf by logging into Amazon's website and going to the Manage Your Kindle page within the Orders section. If the book you want to lend out is sharable, you'll see a Loan This Title option under the Actions drop-down menu to the far right of the book's name.
You can access the same options from the book's product page on Amazon. Lendable books you already own will show a banner at the top of the screen with the date your purchased the book and a link where you can begin the lending process.
If you're an avid book lender, you can check and see if a book is lendable before you buy it on the book's page on Amazon. If a book can be shared with others, it will have Lending: Enabled listed among the Product Details below the book's Language and ASIN number information.
Pass it on
Once you determine that your book is lendable, click the Loan This Title option to begin the sharing process. Clicking Loan This Title (or Loan This Book, in some places) launches a form you'll need to fill out with information about your intended borrower such as their name, e-mail address, and any sort of personal message you want to send along.
Your borrower will then get an e-mail letting him or her know you've sent the book that way, including an expiration date for that title. Your book buddy gets seven days to officially accept the loan plus 14 days from that acceptance to finish reading the book. Loans are accepted by clicking a link within the e-mail, and accepted books are saved to the recipient's Amazon account, where they can be accessed from a Kindle, computer, or any other device running the Kindle app.
Much like a paperback loaned to a friend, Kindle ebooks that you lend out are not available for you to read while they're on loan. The title will become unavailable when you first send a loan e-mail to your friend and will not become available again for you to read until your friend returns the title or the loan period expires.
Not interested in anything in your friend's Kindle library? Many public libraries now lend Kindle books to patrons and are likely to have a much larger selection available than your friend's Kindle. Amazon offers a number of free titles to download and read, and Amazon Prime members can borrow one title from Amazon's lending library per month for no additional charge.