Wednesday, September 21, 2011

KINDLE LIBRARY LENDING IS HERE - It's Official today, at 11,000 libraries

Amazon's press release today boasts the following:

  "Kindle the only e-reader to deliver library books wirelessly; read on any Kindle or free Kindle app.
  Amazon's Whispersync technology automatically stores and synchronizes bookmarks, margin notes and highlights -- all available the next time you check out or buy the book."

Since this is fairly momentous for Amazon's Kindle customers, I'll quote the entire press release so you can see how they're presenting this today.  [Emphases in the quoted release are mine]

'SEATTLE, Sep 21, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) --
(NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that Kindle and Kindle app customers can now borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 local libraries in the United States.  When a customer borrows a Kindle library book, they'll have all of the unique features they love about Kindle books, including Whispersync, which automatically synchronizes their margin notes, highlights and bookmarks, real page numbers, Facebook and Twitter integration, and more.  For more information about borrowing library books for your Kindle or free Kindle apps, go to  To start checking out Kindle library books, visit your local library's website.

"Starting today, millions of Kindle customers can borrow Kindle books from their local libraries," said Jay Marine, Director, Amazon Kindle. "Libraries are a critical part of our communities and we're excited to be making Kindle books available at more than 11,000 local libraries around the country. We're even doing a little extra here - normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no.  But we're fixing this by extending our Whispersync technology to library books, so your notes, highlights and bookmarks are always backed up and available the next time you check out the book or if you decide to buy the book."

Customers will use their local library's website to search for and select a book to borrow. Once they choose a book, customers can choose to "Send to Kindle" and will be redirected to to login to their account and the book will be delivered to the device they select via Wi-Fi, or can be transferred via USB. 

Customers can check out a Kindle book from their local library and start reading on any generation Kindle device or free Kindle app for Android, iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PC, Mac, BlackBerry or Windows Phone, as well as in their web browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

"This is a welcome day for Kindle users in libraries everywhere and especially our Kindle users here at The Seattle Public Library," said Marcellus Turner, city librarian for The Seattle Public Library. "We're thrilled that Amazon is offering such a new approach to library ebooks that enhances the reader experience."

When borrowing a Kindle book from their local library, customers can take advantage of all of the unique features of Kindle books, including:

  • Whispersync technology wirelessly sync your books, notes, highlights, and last page read across Kindle and free Kindle reading apps
  • Real Page Numbers let you easily reference passages with page numbers that correspond to actual print editions
  • Facebook and Twitter integration makes it easy to share favorite passages with your social networks
  • Popular Highlights show you what our community of millions of Kindle readers think are the most interesting passages in your books
  • Public Notes allow you to share your notes and see what others are saying about Kindle books
To start checking out Kindle library books, visit your local library's website. '

So, there it is ! It's actually here. I reported in an update to the previous blog article that Mobileread Forum posts from two members discussed downloading the library books with regular-Kindle-3 models using updated Kindle software version 3.3 (as opposed to the v3.1 for the regular Kindles), but a few Kindles remained at v3.1 and v3.2.1.

  If there is any change in the software being quietly aired to some Kindle 3 customers using both types of Kindle 3 models, it's not part of any general update on their Software page today which allows you to download the latest official versions.  I imagine downloading is no problem since that is normal, but non-crucial changes would involve checking for 3G downloads and preventing them as well as wording that 3G downloads won't be possible for this type of download and to use a USB transfer if WiFi access is not available.  The Kindles before Kindle 3 had 3G wireless with no WiFi module, so this will affect many who have been used to wireless downloads.  But this library lending is one feature upgrade that will include all Kindles for once, going back to Kindle Classic from 2007.

Kindle Touch 3G   Kindle Touch WiFi   Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. As of 7:30am PST, neither of the two libraries I use have had the 'Kindle switch' thrown.

    Wonder if you can download the book, then email as an attachment to address (paying 3G charges). Seems like that should work for the 3G only Kindles. I still think they should offer the option of 3G delivery, if you agree to pay charges.

  2. ...and yes, I'm curious to see if you can check out books using the Kindle browser. I think I've been able to do that in the past (though of course it was a worthless-to-Kindle ability before now).

  3. Tom, maybe some will wait for normal opening times :-)

    A normal novel would be less than 1 meg so would cost 15 cents and as much as 30 cents for a heavy novel. So that's a good idea.

    I think they hesitate on the charge thing because one of their sweeping differences is "free 3G" and that muddies things up when it involves Amazon books borrowed...

    But it should get serious consideration.

  4. So wireless borrowing will never apply to the DX since no WIFI hardware?

    Regards, Don

  5. It is possible (I tried it successfully) to

    1)download a book to a PC,
    2)upload it to your Google Docs and
    3)then download it via 3G.

    Not sure it is worth the bother, unless you are checking out the book on a computer and you don't have a USB cable handy.

    You can also (I tried this) send the book to another device (a PC, in my case) AND read it with the cloud reader (access the book from Manage my Kindle screen).

  6. I will try to be patient. I will try to be patient. What's the big deal about updating 11,000 web sites, anyway?

    Another option might be to put the ebook file in Dropbox and then download it with Kindle browser. No 3G charges then, assuming it works...

  7. Interesting - yesterday the Overdrive resource page ( was showing Kindle devices in beta support... today they are just gone. [And still only one of my three library systems is offering the Kindle books.]

  8. SFPL has thrown the 'switch'!

    Unfortunately my first attempt failed: I picked an available title at random for 7 day loan, but when I got to the Download page, nothing showed up there. The title is not 'on' my bookshelf, and the title is no longer available for checkout. Good thing it wasn't something I really wanted to read...

  9. Looks like SFPL's site has a problem, tried a second book and it failed also. But it works fine with my other library. And yes, Dropbox works also.

    Interestingly it did offer the choice to deliver to my wife's K2. But MYK does not. Assuming it shows up in the K2's Archived Items, wonder if it will download that way? I'll check and report back when I have a chance...

  10. Don, I wish they'd come out with a DX with a WiFi module!

    Joel, I have your Google Docs idea as a reference article in the right hand column of the blog and have meant to bring that up. While anyone sophisticated enough to do that can use a file manager to move the file to the Kindle, you're right that this is extremely useful if you're lacking a cable for some reason.

    Dropbox is much like the Google Docs idea though one of them gave me more trouble than the other when I tried them months ago, from the Kindle.

    Joel, the Overdrive sheet on compatible devices was wrong yesterday, saying the Kindle supported ePub so I think they're revising the page and deciding what to say (why not before? but I'm glad they've arranged all this, as people are saying it's much easier than borrowing with the Nook).

    Tom, there are definitely glitches like this. From what I've read, another try later does it, but it's always on a 'subsequent' download, though people are reporting being able to get two ro three books. Hope they solve it soon!

  11. Someone else was having problems with SFPL, nice to know it was not just me. It might be fixed now for all I know.

  12. Tom,
    From what you described earlier, it was very likely it was a glitchin the Seattle library's program.

    I forget what kind of Kindle you own.

  13. Also, without WiFi, a person can still attach the older Kindles to their computers and just ask to save the Kindle book loan to computer but then give the drive letter that represents the Kindle and save it direct into the "documents' folder of the Kindle.

  14. Didn't know where else to leave this tidbit, but I have successfully borrowed a library book using only K3's browser. It involves using a website named '', which flattens websites so they can be used on tiny, underpowered browsers. It also handles the 'new window' issue. It certainly is not pretty, and may not be secure (I got a certificate warning at one point), but I had to try it at least once, and it did work.

    I do want to do more checking into the security issue before using it again, and nearly all of the time, using a real browser will be more efficient.

  15. Actually the Kindle browser works perfectly fine to complete the library workflow if you turn JavaScript off before clicking the 'Get for Kindle' button. Then the Amazon page opens in the same window, and after logging in to complete the transaction, it gets sent to your Kindle. No computer browser necessary!

  16. Tom,
    That's a great find! Thanks. I would imagine that with some library sign-ins, you do this after you're logged in, as some of them require javascript.

    There's a Mobiread forum thread (about library lending and the Kindle) in which a couple of Sony fans insist that the Kindle can't do library lending without a computer, so you've shown otherwise.

    I was reading your comment on my NookColor when I discovered that the Comment box doesn't come up on that one if the choice of "embedded comment box" is chosen.

    There's no way to comment using the NookColor (version 1.3).

    I've switched it to "full page" which has a downside I'm not describing here having to do w/ease of posting) and seen that the NookColor will then be able to post a comment via a Post Comment link. I wonder what other types of readers. smartphones, or tablets are affected like that...

  17. At least with my 2 library web sites, everything seems functional without JavaScript enabled. And yes, mobileread is where I read about the turn-off-JavaScript trick. Probably useful for other situations as well.


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