On Friday Amazon announced on their Kindle forums that “later this year” they will borrow Nook’s “Lend Me” feature and make ebooks available for limited lending, using the same basic rule set: “Each book can be lent once for a loan period of 14-days and the lender cannot read the book during the loan period. Additionally, not all e-books will be lendable – this is solely up to the publisher or rights holder, who determines which titles are enabled for lending.”
Everyone’s having lots of fun citing Jeff Bezos’s remarks on Nook’s Lend Me feature to Deborah Solomon in the NYT Magazine last December: “The current thing being talked about is extremely limited. You can lend to one friend. One time. You can’t pick two friends, not even serially, so once you’ve loaned one book to one friend, that’s it.”
With a very active customer forum, it’s easy to envision Kindle customers organizing online book swapping around the new lending feature, limited as it may be. Some customers welcome the new feature in their posts; others complain about the limitations, or complain about Amazon’s separation of itself from epub and thus their lack of integration with public libraries and Overdrive’s library lending service.
Amazon also said they are adapting subscriptions for “many” of the Kindle newspapers and magazines to read via the family of Kindle apps. PaidContent says that the Wall Street Journal will not participate in letting their subscriptions be read across the Kindle apps, and they suggest other major publications–many of whom have or are developing their own apps–will also opt out.
In other Amazon-related news, Amazon disclosed Friday that the state of Texas billed the etailer in August for $269 million in uncollected sales taxes (plus penalties and interest) from the end of 2005 to the end of 2009. Amazon has a distribution center in Irvine, which the state says gives it nexus for sales tax purposes. The company says the center–like those in many other states where it does not collect sales tax–is owned by one of its subsidiaries. They believe that Texas “did not provide a sufficient basis for its assessment and that the assessment is without merit.”
In the same SEC filing, Amazon revealed that Positive Technologies sued them in July in a Federal court in…Texas, alleging “that certain of our products, including our Kindle e-reader, infringe three patents owned by the plaintiff.”