Amazon will let users of its Kindle e-reader borrow electronic books from two-thirds of US libraries as it seeks to broaden the device’s appeal in the face of competition from Apple’s iPad and rival tablets.
The world’s largest online retailer said that from later this year, customers would be able to borrow e-books from libraries and read – and annotate – them on a Kindle or any other device to which users have downloaded a Kindle app.
Amazon’s move intensifies questions about the commercial threat the growing popularity of e-readers poses to traditional book publishers, which have acknowledged a concern that e-book lending might cannibalise sales of books. US public libraries have spent several years building up their e-book collections, which have been accessible to users of Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony’s Reader device. But until now they have not worked with the Kindle.