Amazon’s Kindle lending library feature for Kindle owners and Amazon Prime subscribers is a great idea. A free e-book to read each month, to be replaced with a new book the next month, is a great way for users to get their hands on the e-book format and encourage widespread adoption of e-readers. However it seems that the Authors Guild is not too pleased about it.
From the layman’s point of view, Amazon is paying the publishers of the books the same price if the user were to buy the book outright, not to mention the user does not even get to keep the e-book. Basically at the end of the day publishers get paid, which in turn means authors get paid their royalties, and users get free e-books for a month, so everyone wins, right?
Wrong. The Authors Guild is claiming that Amazon after having failed to secure lending library deals from most major publishers, have gone ahead with the program anyway, thinking that they have found some sort of loophole by paying the publishers a wholesale price. In theory this makes sense, and for the layman as long as everyone gets paid it shouldn’t be an issue, but what this means for publishers is that they do not get to control how their works are being used. This lending scheme is causing publishers to worry that prices may erode further in the e-book market.
So what does this mean for Kindle owners and Prime subscribers? Well, no legal action has been taken yet, although if the publishers were to revolt against Amazon and their practices, the Kindle could be in some serious trouble!