Amazon Prime Announces New eBook Lending Program
Amazon Prime is an odd creature, offering just enough of everything to garner interest, but not delving deep enough into any of its markets to make it stand out among its various competitors. Prime offers instant streaming of certain television series and films via Amazon Instant Video, free two-day shipping (which is actually incredibly convenient), and the recently announced book lending program. While the Amazon Instant Video can now be accessed on Amazon Fire and streamed on television screens via devices like Roku, the offerings still don’t compare to that of Netflix or Blockbuster Total Access (for those willing to forgo instant streaming for variety). At a $79 yearly subscription rate, Amazon is setting itself as the Jack-of-all-trades, master of none--everything is offered almost as more of a bonus to the program than an actual reason for purchase.
The book lending program is another such addition. The program (available to Kindle and Fire users) offers over 5,000 titles from which Amazon Prime subscribers can borrow, but users can only borrow one book per month (meaning 12 per year, which won’t be a problem for some) and included are titles that Kindle users can already read for free. Amazon ran into a bit of a problem when six of the largest publishers refused to participate in the program. Amazon also hasn't extended the program to include titles from self-published authors.