Amazon launches Kindle integration with public libraries

Amazon on Wednesday announced the launch of its previously-promised Kindle library lending, which will allow Kindle and Kindle app users alike to borrow ebooks from 11,000 local libraries in the United States.

Kindle book borrowers can use all the features they’re accustomed to when reading Kindle Store-purchased books: notes, highlights, bookmarks, real page numbers, Facebook and Twitter integration, and Whispersync, which syncs your current page across any Kindle device or app you use.

To borrow Kindle books, you must visit your local library’s website. As Amazon notes, the service is only available if your library uses OverDrive’s digital offering. Once you’ve logged into your library’s website, you click Get for Kindle, sign into your Amazon account, and the book gets delivered to your Kindle (or Kindle app) wirelessly or over USB.

At least, that’s the theory. My own local library uses OverDrive, but at this writing, no Get for Kindle button was available. Amazon spokesperson Kinley Campbell told Macworld, “OverDrive is rolling out [Kindle integration] to the majority of their libraries today, and the rest in the next couple of days.” So if you don’t see the Kindle button yet, check again soon.

If you later purchase a book that you’ve previously borrowed, any notes or highlights you made while the book was on loan come along for the ride.

Borrowed Kindle books can be read using hardware Kindle readers, along with the iPhone or iPad apps, Kindle Cloud Reader, or apps for other devices.

Updated 8:27 a.m. PT with comment from Amazon on the service’s rollout to libraries.

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