The difference between lending, borrowing and pirates.
There is always chatter on writer loops about websites Pirating eBooks. This is a huge problem and does often take revenue from the author and publisher. True, pirate sites should be shut down, but spending the time chasing them and sending take down notices takes up a lot of valuable writing time from the author. But one website recently struck a huge cord in the writing community. I saw a lot of talk amongst authors regarding this site in at least five different loops and on various writer boards.
The site is Lendink. I’m not promoting the site or suggesting that readers or writers use it. There are many other sites like this one such as eBook Exchange, Lending eBook and on Goodreads if you go to their groups and search for lending eBooks you will find message boards of readers who are willing to lend out their eBooks to other users. (Amendment: It appears the Lendink site is no longer valid. I get an error when going there that says the site either was overused or owner ran out of resources.)
Everyone breathe and let me explain what lending is and how it works (when used as it is intended).
When you publish on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) you have the option to allow those who purchase your book to lend it to ONE person for 14 days. Once the other person hits 14 days, the book disappears from their Kindle account. The same is true for Pubit (Barnes and Noble). What this means is that if I buy Atlantis by Bob Mayer I can loan my copy to one of my friends (who has a Kindle account) for 14 days. Once that time frame is up, the book is gone and my friend no longer has access to it. AND, and this is a big AND, I can only lend the book ONE time.
What these sites do is hook one reader up with another to share books they LOVED. This to me is awesome both as a reader and an author. Why? Because the more people who read my book, the more people are more likely to buy one of my other books, so if one found me through it being lent from a friend, then yippee for me.
Word of mouth is still the number one way to sell books.
So are these sites bad? It’s a gray area, but one that can actually help the author. Consider this. Your book, your name, your brand…is listed on a site readers hang out. They are not selling your book illegally, they are simply lending the book for a short period of time to another user. This is readers’ talking to readers’ and well, readers rule.
I do want to clear up one other thing. This is very different from the Amazon Lending Library, which allows members for Amazon Prime to download free eBooks. The author gets paid for each of those downloads (done through the KDP select program) and the sale goes towards your book’s rankings.
I agree, those who pirate books, meaning steal the authors work and sell it for a profit should be shut down. However, this gray area of lending books is something we, as an industry, need to understand and figure out if and how it adds value to our overall careers. The technology is changing rapidly and we need to be aware of what is going on and how it affects our business.
Go here to find more information about Kindle Lending. Go here to find out about lending on Nook. To my knowledge, you can’t lend books via the iBookstore. You can borrow books from you local library and read them on on your Kobo reader. FYI, Cool Gus is getting their books into the library system through Overdrive. Working on that right now.