I wrote previously about Kindle opening up thousands of books for free to Prime members (one per month) and libraries loaning out Kindle books. I’ve had a chance to buy both in the past couple weeks and I must say that it’s very smooth.
The Prime membership book was first. There are no due dates and you can keep it as long as you want. The only limit is that you can only do one per month and only a small portion of their books are available through this program. I think of it like Netflix streaming vs Netflix discs. You might get lucky and find a popular book that you want to read, but you’ll probably be left scrounging for something you’ve never heard of and hope that it’s good.
For the library book, I waited in line for a month or so until a copy was available for me to use. Just like with books, the library only pays for a fixed amount of licenses to lend out. With these library books, I had to hook my 3g Kindle up to the computer. I guess Amazon isn’t willing to pay for the whispernet service for these library books. If you have a wifi Kindle I don’t think you’ll have that problem. Also, you only get these books for 3 weeks and there are no extensions. Since the book I’m reading is 784 printed pages (the second Game of Thrones book), there’s no way I’m going to get through it in three weeks. I’ll either wait to check it out again or buy it. For a normal length book, this is a great deal and I’ll be using it a lot more.
If you want more free books, remember that you can lend out most of the books that you’ve purchased to one other person. You can’t read it while they are borrowing it. There are websites devoted to connect you with people who have a book that you want to read. One example is http://www.booklending.com/
One of my big hesitations in getting the Kindle was that I rarely purchased books. All of the free sources I’ve mentioned combined with the ever-changing set of books that cost $0.00 on Amazon means that I rarely end up clicking the purchase button. Hopefully I’m not normal or else this business model isn’t going to work for Amazon!