A major factor in the enormous success of Amazon’s Kindle reader has definitely been the enormous number of Kindle books on offer for users to choose from. Currently, Kindle owners can choose from more than 725,000 Kindle books – and that’s just the paid titles. There are also 1.8 million books which are out of copyright and can be downloaded to the Kindle gratis.
In addition to making so much reading material available for Kindle users, Amazon has certainly bent over backwards to allow readers to enjoy Kindle books without a Kindle reader. This has been achieved by releasing a number of free Kindle apps which permit Kindle books to be read on a variety of different electronic devices.
At the moment, free Kindle apps exist for the Windows PC, the Apple Mac, any device which runs the Android Operating System, the iPhone, the iPad and Blackberry’s smart phone. At first glance, it almost appears as if Amazon is setting up in competition to itself, but the truth of the matter is that each of these apps acts as a retail outlet for Kindle books.
Amazon has just advised that, in the near future, Kindle owners will have the ability to “lend” each other ebooks. The date for this is yet to be confirmed, but it will commence sometime this year.
Kindle owners will have the option of lending Kindle books to their family and friends for a fortnight. The “borrower” will be able to read the book on their Kindle reader – just as if they had bought it themselves. Whilst the book is lent out, the original purchaser won’t be able to access it. Precisely the same as normal book in point of fact.
Not all books will be able to be lent to friends and family. The final say as to whether or not a particular Kindle book may be lent out rest with the book’s publisher. It will be interesting to discover how different publishing houses react to this.
Amazon has also confirmed that its currently existing free Kindle apps will be extended to include magazines and newspapers in addition to Kindle books. The Apple devices will be activated first, followed by desktop applications and Android devices.
Over the last eighteen months or so, the ebook reader and ebook market has really taken off. Although the ebook market is still developing and is in an early stage, the public already seems to have grown accustomed to ebooks. Amazon’s latest development brings ebooks even closer to the functionality of conventional, printed books. Ebooks can now be considered to be pretty much interchangeable with traditional books – apart from the fact that you can’t mark the pages with a dog-ear. It’s a big step forward for ebook readers and ebooks readers, and it’s one which will help them become even more widely accepted by the public.