Even with 'Harry Potter,' Is Amazon's Lending Library Worth It?
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
May 10 2012 05:39 PM ET
CREDIT: Shutterstock: SKPhotography
Summer holds the promise of letting you — and the kids — catch up on your reading. Amazon announced today (May 10) it would add the seven-book "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling to its Lending Library for Kindle Owners, beginning June 19.
Even if you have already devoured, or never had interest in, the tales of Hogwarts, the Lending Library offers other titles that may interest you — more than 145,000 books. But it's a lot like Netflix Watch Instantly — a few blockbusters and a lot of no-name flicks.
The library has a smattering of current and former New York Times bestsellers and just enough new releases to keep their readers' attention. Among the hit titles are all three books in "The Hunger Games" series, "Fast Food Nation," "The Big Short," Nelson DeMille's just-released "The Book Case," and Karen McQuestion's "The Long Way Home." But if you're looking for the steamy "Fifty Shades of Grey" series that's been banned from some public libraries, you'll have to pay for it.
Kindle's lending library isn't exactly free, however. To use it, you must own a Kindle e-reader (not just the app) and subscribe to the Amazon Prime service at $80 a year. That might not be worth it just for books. But in addition to accessing the Lending Library, Prime members can also stream a selection of movies and TV shows for free and get free 2-day shipping on most Amazon purchases.
Unlike with your local public library, e-book titles are always available, in an unlimited supply. And no need to worry about due dates and late charges. You have the option to buy any listing in the library — most at well under $10.
But there are other limitations: You can "check out" only one e-book from Amazon's library at a time and no more frequently than once a month. So it will take you seven months to get through the "Harry Potter" series, no matter how fast you read.
The Kindle lending library could be a good deal if you're a leisurely reader and not terribly interested in new releases. If you're willing to swap Prime ($80) for Netflix ($84), you're looking at a pretty sweet deal.