I own a Kindle, though it may be a twice handed-me-down through my family and attached to my father’s Amazon account where I only pull down free books (and whatever he chooses to buy), but I am intrigued by this new Lending Library concept from Amazon. On the surface, it seem like an excellent idea. With your Amazon Prime membership, you can read books for free on your Kindle. The downside is, you can read 12 a year, max. And at that, only one a month. Admittedly, I love the concept of Prime for two day free shipping (particularly when I had it for free), and the books on top of that are basically icing when you think how much free shipping I’ve gotten out of the deal before.
But here’s what I want, Amazon. I want unlimited lending for a flat fee a year. I’ll take the restriction of only being allowed to have one book out at a time. That makes sense. But I want one fee that allows me to borrow as many books during the year as I can actually read. A rare book may take me a month to read, but the majority of them will only take me a couple days, max a week. I understand Amazon’s market plan of making money not from their devices, but from content, but I still feel that the artificial restraints placed on the lending system are…awkward. So, here’s my suggested alternate plan:
One option is to charge a flat rate for a year-long subscription, with different levels of subscription depending on how much someone expects to read. Someone like me would be willing to pay, oh, $100-$150 a year for a subscription as I would still be paying less than $3 a book. Or, another option, is paying a minute amount of money per rental, say $1. Then you keep it as long as you need to read it, trade it in for the next, and shell out another $1. That model seems to be working well for the day-of movie rental business. And both of these models reduce the uncomfortable restriction of being able to only rent 12 books a year.
That said, I’m glad that Amazon is working on the Lending Library system for the Kindle, it is overdue!