Amazon announced today that they will be offering their Kindle books to libraries through a program called Kindle Library Lending. They plan on launching the program later this year.
Lots of other ebook formats have been available from libraries for quite some time, but it was uncertain if Amazon would offer Kindle books until today. The announcement is significant as Amazon probably sells more ebooks than anyone else.
Amazon has chosen to offer their Kindle books through OverDrive, an ebook provider that loans out ebooks in a wide variety of formats to libraries.
You won’t need a Kindle to checkout a Kindle book either. You will be able to check them out on Android devices, iPhones, iPads, iPods, Windows Phones, BlackBerry devices, as well as PCs and Macs.
An interesting difference between borrowing an ebook and borrowing a Kindle book will be that the final step of the checkout process will take you to Amazon’s site where you will need to login with your Amazon account. No doubt this will be an opportunity for Amazon to sell you something else or perhaps get you to buy a Kindle book while you’re there.
This is a huge announcement for both libraries and ebooks in general. It will be really interesting to see how this alters the landscape for digital books at libraries.