Amazon Kindle lending library coming to Europe soon

Amazon has announced that the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library will be coming to the UK, Germany and France later this month. The service allows subscribers to the Amazon Prime service to “borrow” books, with over 200,000 titles available. Users will be able to borrow up to one book per month free of charge, and there’s no “due date” for return.

The service has been available to US-based Kindle owners since November 2011, and includes a range of fiction and non-fiction titles – including all seven Harry Potter books. It’s one of the advantages the Kindle can claim over its rivals, with no other ebook reader offering an equivalent service.

Amazon also revealed that independent authors and publishers using Kindle Direct Publishing will now be able to make their titles available to the UK, Germany and France Kindle Lending Libraries, increasing their potential to make money. Every time a book is borrowed, the author earns a small sum – Amazon claims that it was $2.29 in September.

If nothing else, the Lending Library gives European Amazon customers an extra incentive to become Amazon Prime members. US Amazon users pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping, access to the Kindle library and the ability to stream thousands of videos, while here in the UK our £49 per annum has, until now, got us only free one-day delivery.

Now, if Amazon gave the UK access to the streaming library we’d be very tempted indeed, although the fact that Lovefilm is owned by Amazon suggests that that’s fairly unlikely at this time. An annual subscription to the Lovefilm Instant video streaming service costs £4.99 a month (i.e. £59.88 a year), so Amazon would be messing with its revenue streams to offer the same service, plus other advantages, to Prime subscribers for less money.

Does Amazon’s decision to bring the Kindle Lending Library to the UK make you more likely to push the button on an Amazon Prime membership? Let us know below.

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