Amazon: “OK to Lend Kindles in Libraries”

I have written before about my interest in using Amazon’s Kindle for circulation and interlibrary loan. Yesterday I received a response from Amazon about doing so. On the phone, the Amazon rep. and I reviewed the public policy found here under section3. Digital Content, subsection Restrictions:

Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content.

Amazon said this only applies to for-profit ventures. “If you’re gonna let someone borrow the Kindle just to read a book, you should be fine.”

Since my interlibrary loan department does not charge for interlibrary loan use, we would essentially be loaning for free. Good news to our library and many others I would guess. I am looking forward to seeing how this affects our collection development and patron reaction when we implement the service.

— UPDATE 3/16/2009–

Since there has been a lot of traction on this post, I want to share a word of caution that may or may not have been implicit in my original post:

Amazon states in its Terms of Use that each agreement is sort of in perpetual Beta:

Amazon reserves the right to amend any of the terms of this Agreement at its sole discretion by posting the revised terms on the Kindle Store or the website. Your continued use of the Device and Software after the effective date of any such amendment shall be deemed your agreement to be bound by such amendment.

I recommend everyone who is interested in loaning Kindles in libraries first contact Amazon for the customized OK. Again, I would hope that this update is redundant and you would have already done this :).


12 Responses to Amazon: “OK to Lend Kindles in Libraries”

  1. […] Amazon Say It Is OK to Use Kindle 2 in Libraries…03.13.09 13 03 2009 Shaping Libraries says today in its post Amazon: “OK to Lend Kindles in Libraries”:  […]

  2. […] Libraries:  Amazon: “OK to Lend Kindles in Libraries” Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, […]

  3. Lorraine says:

    How will you work with the credit card pipeline to Amazon? That seems like the sticking point, even more than permissions – how can you trust everyone not to run up $$$ on the library credit card?

  4. Gerrit says:

    Yeah, this was our main concern as well; I contacted a librarian at the University of Nebraska-Omaha who is loaning Kindles and she told me all you need to do is unregister the Kindle (using the unique Kindle ID code) on your Amazon account at the time of checkout. When the user returns the Kindle, you simply reregister, dump the title from the Kindle and add the next title for the next user.

  5. Joyce says:


    This is the “Librarian from University of Nebraska-Omaha”.

    Just a little clarification. De-registering is very simple and a must to prevent unwanted purchases. However, we do not erase any of the purchased titles. When you check out the Kindle, you also have access to all the other titles purchased on that particular Kindle. Many of our patrons return the Kindle telling us about the other books they have enjoyed reading.

    As I told Gerrit, our Kindles are continually checked out and have holds placed on them waiting for their return.

    • Gerrit says:

      Thanks, Joyce, for the clarification. The dumping of titles was my idea, I guess. I can see that it would be nice to have them on the Kindle for the users but I would think it would be harder to find the title they actually requested when searching through a long list of titles. That and it might make them return them a little later if they have more books to read 🙂

  6. Thank you so much to everybody who is taking some time to get clarification on a murky issue. I wish Amazon would be more proactive in how they address this, but imagine they will have to be as the issue continues to grow.

  7. […] Kindle 2 推出後,有越來越多的圖書館面臨是否可以外借 Kindle 的問題。上週 Gerrit van Dyk 在部落格上就分享了他與 Amazon業務代表就借出 Kindle […]

  8. robyn says:

    i noticed on the university of nebraska-omaha library website that they loan kindles and they list the books that are on each kindle in the item record in the catalog. that would make it easier to find exactly what titles on are each particular kindle.

  9. Kent says:

    Interestingly eough, I have seen Kindles for loan before. At one academic library, they showed 10 Kindles for loan in the catalog, only 3 were in working order the other 7 were “out of service for repairs.” I wonder if this happens a lot? Anyone? (I’m sorry, but I am a library student and was surfing libraries, I didn’t think at the time to write down the library.)

  10. Gerrit says:

    Kent, there are several libraries lending Kindles, some just for their circulation and others to fill ILL requests. For starters, you can go here:

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