Amazon has announced the Kindle Lending Library, which allows a Kindle owner with an Amazon Prime account the ability to “borrow” one book per month with no return date. It’s essentially Netflix for books when you get right down to it, but it’s pretty ingenious. It’s worth noting that you have to have an actual Kindle- the iOS Kindle app won’t support this.
Amazon Prime started out as a way to get free two-day shipping on all Amazon orders for a flat fee of $80 per year. I never ordered enough stuff to justify the cost. Later they also bundled in streaming movies and TV shows via a browser or supported set-top box like the Roku. And now Kindle book lending. Subscribers to Amazon Prime must be delighted that these services are being bundled in with no increase in annual price (yet, anyway).
The new Kindle hardware, including the compelling Fire, is set to drop this month. Amazon has a strong strategy here that should translate into some serious sales over the holiday season.
UPDATE: John Gruber points out that none of the big six publishing companies have signed on to this.