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Saturday, 3 November 2012

Borrowing Books on a Kindle

I've just borrowed my first book on my Kindle.

This facility is only offered you if you're an Amazon Prime subscriber, which I've been since I read an overly optimistic article predicting that Amazon would soon give Kindles away to their Prime subscribers. In the US prime membership gives you several advantages; in the UK, until recently, it only gave you free next day delivery. As you can sign up your whole household for this, it's proved enough of a selling point to justify the £49 annual fee. It has also made me more impatient: I used to happily go for the free 'several day' delivery, but now I'm stupidly annoyed if any Amazon item isn't available for Prime next day delivery.

Very recently Amazon changed the rules so that Prime members could 'borrow' one book a month on their Kindle. A choice of 200,000 titles!

Sadly, when I investigated it seemed they were mostly by authors I'd never heard of. That makes sense: if you're fairly unknown you can try raising your profile by effectively giving a few titles away. However, I've got a back reading list several bookshelves long already, without adding some more authors to it.

Then today I went looking for a Kindle Single that I'd heard recommended. Imagine my delight when I noticed I could borrow it. (Thus saving me the princely sum of £1.96!)

And the tactic worked. An Unexpected Twist by Andy Borowitz is a little delight, hilarious and moving. It only took 15 minutes to read, and I've already paid for another one of his books, Who Moved My Soap?: The CEO's Guide to Surviving in Prison.

Now a month to kill while I find another book I want to borrow. 199,999 choices left.