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Now libraries can loan Kindle ebooks

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More than 11,000 participating libraries can now loan out ebooks for the Kindle, Amazon announced Wednesday. The move had been expected -- in April, the online bookseller announced plans to enter the library market -- but exactly when readers could check out Kindle ebooks had not been known.

In a statement, Amazon explained how the process of checking out a Kindle ebook from the library will work:

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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 Amazon.com to login to their Amazon.com 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.

Although a Kindle device itself is not required, users will have to have to have an Amazon.com account.

Some books will not be available, as publishers are still struggling to find the best way to allow readers to borrow ebooks. Simon and Schuster and Macmillan have been the most reluctant, while Harper Collins decided to impose a limit of 26 checkouts on its ebooks earlier this year. J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series is not yet available as an ebook, for purchase or loan.

However, all those books are still available from libraries -- the print versions.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg


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