Amazon has done it. They have crossed the half million mark in their ebook lending library. Today there are currently 500,896 different ebooks in the list of ebooks in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.
It only took Amazon a little over two years to achieve this milestone. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) launched on November 3, 2011 with under 5,000 ebook titles. Anybody that buys a Kindle or Kindle Fire tablet can get access to the KOLL by subscribing to Amazon Prime for $79 a year. The subscription allows Kindle owners to borrow one ebook for free each month with no due date. The KOLL has more than 100 titles that have been on the New York Times best sellers list and has all the Harry Potter and Hunger Games ebooks as well.
The program has proven to be extremely popular among both authors and Kindle owners. Lesser known authors have garnered huge exposure through the KOLL and many success stories have been profiled and touted by Amazon. More popular authors have found that their ebook sales increased as a result of participating in the KOLL.
The KOLL is something that libraries and book publishers are paying very close attention to. The idea of a subscription for borrowing ebooks is particularly interesting. Also of great interest is Amazon’s discovery that one in four people end up buying an ebook after borrowing one for free.
Book publishers should start looking at public libraries as a resource to help them find out more about their readers and as a tool to help them sell more ebooks. Libraries should hold up the successes of Amazon’s KOLL as reasons the book publishers should be willing to offer ebooks to their patrons.