Own a Kindle? If so, you can now borrow Kindle e-books from Amazon for free—one at a time, and up to one a month. But there is a catch, or three.
Catch No. 1: You must own an actual Kindle e-reader to borrow a book from Amazon’s Kindle store—not a Kindle smartphone app or the online Kindle Cloud Reader.
Catch No. 2: Not all of the millions of books in Amazon’s Kindle collection are eligible for borrowing. Indeed, Amazon’s new Kindle lending library only has about 5,000 titles—and no, the new Steve Jobs biography isn’t one of them.
That said, many current bestsellers and old favorites are on the list, including “The Hunger Games,” “Water for Elephants,” “Moneyball,” “Kitchen Confidential,” “Liar’s Poker,” and “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine.”
Catch No. 3: To start borrowing books, you must sign up for a $79-a-year Amazon “Prime” membership, which entitles you to free two-day shipping for designated “Prime”-eligible items in Amazon’s online store, as well as unlimited streaming of about 13,000 movies and TV shows (similar to instant streaming on Netflix).
So, ready to borrow a Kindle book? Here’s what you do…
- Turn on your Kindle (an actual Kindle e-reader, not a Kindle smartphone app or the online Cloud Reader), click the Menu button, and select “Shop in Kindle Store.”
- Under the “Browse” section at the top of the page, select “See all” categories, then click “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.” Now you can browse or search for Kindle books to borrow.
- See one you like? Click it’s title, then click the “Borrow for Free” button—and once you do, it’ll be automatically downloaded to your Kindle’s library.
That’s it! Keep in mind, though, that you can only borrow one book from the Kindle store at a time, and only one a month. If you borrow a book and go right back to the Amazon lending library for another, you’ll find that the “Borrow for Free” button has been grayed-out, with the message “Monthly limit reached” just beneath.
You can also go ahead and buy a book you borrowed—and if you do, you’ll get to keep any notes or bookmarks you’d left in it.
Don’t like all these rules? If so, you can always borrow Kindle books from your public library; here’s how to do it.