Saturday, February 26, 2011

To Lend or Not? Online Book Lending Clubs

If you own a Kindle or Nook and check your library status online often, you may have seen some of the books you own have a notation that lets you know if the books you have purchased may be lent to other readers. Everything is done through the respective eBook reading systems - you can only lend a Kindle book to another Kindle user, and you cannot read the book while it's out, nor can you lend to multiple people at once. This ensures the book is in one place at all times. Some authors, I have gathered through chats and tweets, are not too thrilled by this turn of events.

I can only guess, therefore, that the people who oppose Kindle/Nook lending won't be happy to find their books on sites like  eBookFling.comLendInk.com, and BookLending.com - three early horses pulling out in the race to capitalize on the digital publishing industry. These are essentially niche networks where people can borrow and lend books for their readers. Think of it as a giant virtual book swap. It sort of reminds me of when I'd visit my aunts in Louisville, and once a week each would bring over a grocery sack of paperbacks and sift through the already-reads to find more gems for the TBR pile. The concept isn't really that different, people are just doing it online, with strangers. (How often have you heard that?)

All my titles with DLP Books, and I believe my Phaze titles as well, are lendable. If you have a copy of one of my titles on Kindle or Nook, go ahead and offer it up for temporary trade. It certainly wouldn't be the first time my books have been lent out. When Little Flowers was first published, I received a nice e-mail from a gentleman at a Catholic university on the West Coast. He told me the book was quite popular over there. I'm thinking, damn, how many copies have I sold? Turns out, though, one book had been bought and it was passed around campus like the town strumpet. Ah well.

Fast forward to today, however, and the book continues to sell. That major lend didn't hurt me. Perhaps, and I can dream, somebody who had read the book all those years ago wanted his/her own copy. It's possible.

Today's borrower could be tomorrow's buyer - I won't really know unless I give readers an opportunity to try out the book. From my own personal experience, I have checked out library books from authors I bought at a later date. This appears like the next logical step in digital publishing, but as this is in the early stages it will require a close watch.

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