Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ebooks, Kindle, and Lendle

I don't remember when exactly, but let's guess around a decade ago, someone gave me a palm pilot as a gift. I honestly didn't know what to do with it. I wasn't super impressed with the address book or calendar functions and so it was a rather expensive but unimpressive toy. Then I discovered ebooks.

I was always an avid reader. I would go on vacations with half my suitcase filled with paperbacks. I carried one to every doctor's appointment. I read in the car until the sunlight faded and then continued on with a flashlight until my batteries died. The ebook was an amazing upgrade for me. Suddenly I could carry dozens of books in less space than one paperback. Also, it was backlit and so I could read in the dark. It was wonderful. I never struggled with eye strain, so other than the occasional low battery issue, I never looked back.

Due to issues I won't go into now, I switched from my old ebook format to the Kindle format a couple of years ago. I don't actually own a Kindle. I use a Kindle app on my iPhone. I'm perfectly happy with that. It is smaller than the Kindle device, has backlight capability, and is always with me. I love ebooks. It is by far my preferred format for reading.

I recently stumbled upon a new website that is really great. It is called Lendle. Some Kindle books are lending enabled. The publisher determines if that function is enabled, not Amazon. If the book is lending enabled, you can loan the book to someone else with a Kindle account one time for two weeks. Or, they could loan a book to you for two weeks. The problem is, I don't know anyone else using a Kindle. That's where Lendle comes in.

You set up an account with Lendle and tell it what Kindle books you own. They automatically figure out which of those are lending enabled. (I own 81 Kindle books. Only 16 are lending enabled.) You get a few free borrowing credits just for signing up and entering your book list. Your available loans are entered into a database along with everyone else's. Then you can browse available books and spend a borrowing credit to request a loan. You earn another borrowing credit for every book you loan out. As an added bonus, Lendle gives you a small credit (5-49 cents so far for the five books I have currently loaned out) for each book you loan out. When your account reaches $10 they send you an Amazon gift certificate.

Their catalog is pretty slim because so few books are lending enabled. However, I found one I wanted and requested the loan. It came through within half an hour and then I was reading the book on my phone. It was great. I requested the sequel. Now, that one is taking longer. The lender has two days to actually send you the book and this person is a bit slower. Still, I'm getting to read free books in exchange for loans that were sitting around unused in my Kindle account.

If you have a Kindle account, I highly recommend checking out Lendle.

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