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Can I lend eBooks?

posted Jan 1, 2011, 12:09 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Jan 20, 2011, 6:12 AM ]
If you have an eBook, can you lend it to a friend?  Well, sometimes.  Barnes and Noble started the idea of eBook lending when they brought out the Nook.  And Amazon now offers a similar feature.  With both vendors, it is the publisher who decides whether a book can be loaned.  Amazon and Barnes and Noble have to follow the publisher's rules.  So, not all books are lendable.
If the book you bought from Barnes and Noble is lendable, it will have a "LendMe" tag somewhere in the title display after you download it.  Click on that and follow the instructions.  Briefly put, this will generate an email to the person you want to lend it to--provided they have a Barnes and Noble account.  When they reply, the book is linked to their account for two weeks, and not to your account.  They can read it on their Nook or via the Nook for PC App that can be downloaded from the Barnes and Noble site.  At present, you can lend a book only once.  From a Librarian's point of view, this is pretty lame.
Amazon's procedure is very similar.  Here is their overview:  

Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days. The borrower does not need to own a Kindle -- Kindle books can also be read using our free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. Not all books are lendable -- it is up to the publisher or rights holder to determine which titles are eligible for lending. The lender will not be able to read the book during the loan period.

Here is the link to the full description of the process: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_rel_topic?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200549320

At present, you can't lend a friend the ebook you just borrowed from the Library.  But that doesn't matter much, if they are local.  They can get it free, when you return it.  If you live in Plant City, and they live in Denver....  Well, we're working on that.