Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Digital Lending: How it works and who allows it

Kindle launched digital lending this last week. Note: I had both the nook and Kindle lending terms wrong so this post has been corrected to reflect the accurate terms

14 day lending period. The recipient has 7 days to accept the borrowed book and the 14 day lending period begins upon the acceptance. You can lend a book only once.

14 day lending period. Lendee has one week to “open” or acknowledge receipt. Once opened, the 14 day
clock for lending begins. More here from commenter Joy.

The problem is that few books are lendable.   Of my 400+ Kindle books, only a handful are lendable.   I decided to contact different publishers to find out what their status is on lendability.   Here’s a handy chart:

[table id=52 /]

I hope this changes over time.   The lending feature is so restrictive that I can’t see it accounting for a lost sale and by offering lending, you are making a digital book have more value.

How do you use digital lending?

On the Kindle

On the Kindle, there are a couple of places to discern whether a book is lendable.   First, if you own the book and it is lendable, it says so on the top of the product page:

Screen shot 2011-01-04 at 9.36.33 AM
If you are thinking about purchasing, scroll toward the bottom where it lists the Product Details such as publisher, ISBN, File Size and the like.

Lending Enabled Kindle

To lend, you must go to MANAGE YOUR KINDLE page, and scroll to the YOUR ORDERS section.   A listing of your purchases exist.   There is a small + sign next to the title. Click on it and you will see an expanded information box. If your title is loanable, it will have a “Loan This Book” button:

Loan Book screenshot

As far as I can see, you can’t lend via the Kindle device or any of the apps.

On the nook.

On the product page, look to the left of the cover to see if the book is lendable:

Lend Me nook product page

Lending on the nook is much simpler, you can lend directly from the device by going to the Library section of your device and touching “lend me”.   You then enter an email address and send.   This works on the BN for PC app but not for the Mac or any of the BN Apps.

Lend from device nook

From your Account page, the lendable books have a small “Lend Me” icon underneath the product description. Clicking on that button leads you through a simple lending process.

Lend me icon nook

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Tweets that mention Digital Lending: How it works and who allows it | Dear Author --
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 12:39:59

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Cane and others. Mike Cane said: RT @dearauthor: NewPost: Digital Lending: How it works and who allows it […]

  2. Joy
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 12:47:20

    The nook lending policy (and how it works in some more detail), which differs somewhat from “14 day lending period that starts with the LEND and not the receipt to ONE person EVER”, is this:

    After the loan offer is made, 1 week is allowed for the loan recipient to accept. If the recipient does not accept, the book will be made lendable again after a week. (I don’t know if the book is accessible to the owner during this period because I haven’t tried to access it; also I haven’t had anyone wait longer than a few hours to accept a loan.)

    If the loan is accepted, the recipient has 2 weeks to finish the book. During that time, the owner cannot access the book, and the book is added, openable (barring any bugs in the process, which I have encountered) to the recipient’s library. At the end of the 2 weeks, the recipient can no longer open the book, and the original owner can open it again. Unless it’s deleted, after the loan period the item will remain in the loan recipient’s library with an option to buy it when an “open” is attempted.

  3. Jane
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 12:52:55

    @Joy: Thanks Joy. I appreciate that clarification.

  4. Keira Soleore
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 14:27:53

    I’m waiting to see how this translates over to libraries and lending to patrons.

  5. Hannah
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 14:43:03

    Thanks for the helpful information about which publishers allow lending. I have to say that I’m grateful for the Kindle lending program despite the restrictions–I just received a copy of Smooth Talking Stranger on my Kindle via a loan, and am really looking forward to reading it. Now I wonder if customers will start making purchasing decisions based on whether or not a title is lendable.

  6. Robert Morrow
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 15:27:27

    Very helpful. My book is lendable on both the Kindle and the Nook so it seems the smaller houses are less restrictive. The downside is that the book I’m reading now couldn’t be finished in 14 days, so it’s for quicker reads.

  7. Inez Kelley
    Jan 04, 2011 @ 17:59:34

    I have the Kindle PC app on my desktop. A friend tried to loan me a book via kindle but I could never accept it. We tried several times and contacted Amazon customer service, which was useless.

    I got frustrated and just bought it on my Nook instead. Amazon lost my potential sale.

  8. lada
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 07:46:22

    I appreciate the information but am wondering if it remains true for both nook & kindle that any book can only be loaned one time, ever. For me, this is the restriction that most devalues an ebook. Loaning favorite reads has been how I’ve gotten many friends hooked on new-to-them authors.

  9. Lis Carey
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 10:25:30

    It’s true that lending is very restricted right now, but it’s also very new, and it might be helpful to remember how frightened the major publishers were of ebooks. The technology existed long before publishers became willing to to dive into the pool in a big way, because they were afraid of losing control of their copyrighted materials.

    Lending is new, and it’s still scary to them. It’s totally predictable that the smaller publishers are more willing to dip their toes in the water, because they have more to gain from increased visibility. The big publishers are more timid, and I expect it will be several years before lending becomes widely accepted by them.

    In the meantime, as far as possible, let’s reward the publishers who ARE venturing into the lending waters.

  10. Joy
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 11:06:11

    I may be slightly less likely to buy a lendable book, figuring I may be able to borrow it. That said, the vast majority of books available on the lending sites I use are (or were at one point or another) promotional freebies, cheap classics, extremely popular series, or erotica. So if the lendable book isn’t in those categories, I’d probably buy it.

  11. Brian
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 12:11:50

    At this point I find the lending features at both B&N and Amazon to be less than thrilling. What I do right now is lend out an actual Kindle 2 with the books I want to lend on it. No time restriction, no restriction on how often it can be lent. I see this happening more and more, at least with early adopters, as they upgrade and end up with a second or third device they no longer (or seldom) use.

  12. Gwen Hayes
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 12:21:17

    My workaround has been to share my Kindle account with my daughter and my very good friend. The three of us then have access to the same library. This only works with people you trust though, as they also have access to your credit card and Amazon account. It’s not a perfect solution, but those are the two I would regularly share paper books with back in the day when I would buy paper.

  13. DS
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 19:53:09

    Drat, I can’t find it, but someone posted on a blog I was reading that Amazon is requiring those who wish to collect the 70% royalty on Kindle books to allow lending.

  14. SS
    Jan 05, 2011 @ 22:59:47

    B&N requires PubIt! authors to allow lending as well.

  15. Jane
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 09:03:27

    @DS was it this article at teleread?

  16. Catherine
    Jan 06, 2011 @ 16:59:36

    Please check out the Kindle Lending Club page I founded on Facebook – lots of people lending and borrowing Kindle books there. Discover great new books for free, and share your collection with other book lovers:

  17. 20110110 Digital Lending: How it works and who allows it at E-ink now!
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 06:44:47

    […] Nook 14 day lending period. Lendee has one week to “open” or acknowledge receipt. Once opened, the 14 day clock for lending begins. More here from commenter Joy. […]

  18. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity, plus 2010 Reading Year in Review
    Jan 10, 2011 @ 19:43:53

    […] Dear Author compares the lending features of various ereaders and lending policies of various publis…. […]

  19. Bulletproofheeb
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 16:44:48

    @Joy: After the book is returned to the owner after the 14 day lending period can the book be lent again? Is there a limit to the number of times a book may be lent?

  20. Jane
    Jan 13, 2011 @ 18:33:37

    @Bulletproofheeb You can only lend once.

  21. neva
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 18:56:14

    I have no problem lending, trying to find out how to return lendable book before the 15 days. Can’t seem to find that Info anywhere.

  22. Nikki
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 08:11:48

    Macmillan books no longer seem to be lending enabled as of this week.

  23. Annabelle
    Jun 16, 2011 @ 11:12:06

    Thanks, this is very helpful. One of my great joys is sharing a book I love with a friend, so I will not buy any ebook that I cannot share at least once. It makes me sad about Carina Press – they have many books that sound good, but not allowing lending is a deal-breaker for me.

  24. I Received an Ebook Reader, now what? | Dear Author
    Dec 25, 2011 @ 08:57:52

    […] Another way to share books is to share the same account.   Nooks and Kindles can be hooked up to the same account although there are some drawbacks.   More on sharing here and here. […]

%d bloggers like this: