Loaning a Kindle Book

Remember when you used to read paper books and after you had read one you would loan it to a friend to read?  Or, maybe they would loan you a book?  Amazon has a book lending feature for Kindle books you and your friends / family can take advantage of but, like most things in life, there are a couple of catches to this feature:

  • If you lend a book to someone, it can only be loaned for a 14 day period.
  • You can only loan a book once, and only once, so make sure you pick the “right” person to loan a book.
  • All books are not lendable, as there are many publishers who are blocking the feature in order to get an incremental dollar.
  • If you loan a book out to someone, you cannot read it on your Kindle at the same time (it disappears).

You can tell if a book is eligible for lending on the book’s detail page – just scroll down to the “Product Details” section on the Kindle book page.  There is a bold-faced legend called “Lending:” and it will tell you if the lending feature is enabled (it’s in the “Product Details”  section.

On the other hand, a couple of years ago I read the late Wayne Rogers’ book called Make Your Own Rules (I thought it was outstanding) and it does not support the lending feature: click here to see what I mean.  If you scroll down to the “Product Details” section of the book’s web page, “Lending” line item says “Not Enabled.”

How to Lend a Book

If you already own the book, you can go to the Manage Your Content and Devices section of the Amazon web page (you may need to sign in to your Amazon account again) and look at your Kindle orders.  Click on the icon underneath the “Actions” column next to each title (on my computer it is a small grey square with three dots about two-thirds of the way down): if the lending feature is enabled, you will see a button titled “Loan This Title” in the popup for each individual book book.

Alternatively, if you have purchased the book, go to the book’s page on the Amazon website: right above the title line, it will show you a box just above the titles name telling you when you purchased the book, and just below that line will be a “Loan This Title” text link for you to click.  If you want to lend the book to someone, initiate from either the Manage Your Content and Devices section of the Amazon website or on the book’s web page.

You don’t have to own a Kindle to be able to read a book that was loaned to you, as the feature is also available for people to read on the Kindle for PC or other Kindle applications.

After you click the Loan This Title button or text link, your browser will next open up a form to input the borrower’s name, email address, and a personal message within the email notification.  The recipient will be notified of the loan via the email address you input into the Amazon form.  The recipient has seven days to either accept or reject the loan: if the loan is not accepted after seven days, you will be able to loan it again or read it on your Kindle.  If the recipient already owns the book, or if the book isn’t available in their country due to copyright restrictions, the borrower cannot accept the loan; if that is the case, you will get the book back available to you after the seven day period.

Receiving a Book Loan

If you have received an email notification of a book loan (it will be titled “A Loaned Book For You”) and you accept it, you can download the book to your Kindle or the Kindle reading application such as the Kindle for PC or iPad.  After you press accept, you will have 14 days to complete the book.  After the 14 day period is over, the book will disappear from your Kindle: if you haven’t finished it yet and want to complete it, or read it again at a later date, you will have to purchase the book or have a different friend loan it to you.

Once you press accept, you will then be prompted to login to your Amazon account – in other words, the lender does not need to know your registered Kindle email address in order to loan you a book (my Amazon-registered email address is different than my main “correspondence” email address).

Once that is completed, you will then select the Kindle device to download the book: if you don’t have a Kindle or Kindle application, that’s okay as you will then be directed to the steps to download a free Kindle reading application (side note; pretty smart of Amazon in order to get more Kindle readers out there).

Just remember these dates and other items:

  • Once you receive a lending notification email, you have seven days to accept it.
  • Once you accept the loaned book, you have 14 days to complete it.
  • As a lender, you can only loan a title once – and once only – so if multiple people are interested in the same book make sure you loan it to the “right” person.
  • You can only loan books: magazines and newspapers are not eligible for the loaning program.

Here are some frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do with the lending feature.  I can’t take credit for this part as it comes from the Amazon website.

As the lender, can I read the book while it is out on loan?

Once you initiate a Kindle book loan, you will not be able to read the book until the loan period has ended, after which your access will automatically be restored.

Once your notification has been sent, a reminder message will appear on the Home screen of your Kindle or Kindle reading app, indicating that the book is on loan and cannot be read until the loan has ended.

During the loan period the book will still remain visible in your Archived Items folder, but you will be unable to redownload the title.

Will I be notified before the book loan expires?

Yes. Three days before the end of the 14-day loan period we will send borrowers a courtesy reminder e-mail about the loan expiration.  Once the loan period has ended, an e-mail notification will be sent to both the book lender and borrower. The lender can then access the book again through their Archived Items and Manage Your Content and Devices.

The borrower will receive a notice on the Home screen of their device indicating that the loan has ended.  The borrower will still be able to view the title from their Archived Items folder as well, but selecting the title will bring up a reminder that the loan has ended and provide a link to purchase the item.

If the recipient is finished with the loaned book and wishes to return it, they can do so from the Your Orders section of Manage Your Kindle.  Here’s how:

  1. Click the icon symbol next to the loaned title and underneath the “Actions” header.
  2. Click the Delete this Title
  3. Click Yes in the pop-over window to confirm the return.

After initiating a return the reading rights will be restored to the owner of the book. The owner will also receive an e-mail confirmation of the return.

How do I view the status of my loan?

You can view the status of a Kindle book loan from the Manage Your Content and Devices page. Click on the icon next next to any title (and underneath the Actions column) to view more details about any book that you’ve loaned or borrowed.

If you’ve loaned out the book, you’ll see the loan date listed, as well as whether the loan is pending, the expiration date of an accepted loan, or the returned date.

Borrowers will be able to see how much longer a loan is available, or if it has ended.

What happens to my notes and highlights?

The lender’s notes and highlights are not visible to the borrower during a Kindle books loan. When the book is returned, the same notes and highlights will appear in the book as before the loan was initiated.

The borrower of a Kindle book loan is also able to make notes and highlights in loaned books. These will not be visible to the lender at the end of the loan period. If a borrower purchases the same title after the loan has ended, any notes and highlights made in the loaned book will be retained in the purchased version.

That’s all I have for now, and happy lending!




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