Amazon Disables Ebook Sharing Website Lendle

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Amazon has caught on to at least one Kindle lending website, where users can borrow ebooks from other users by utilizing Amazon’s ebook lending service.

The website Lendle had their API cut off by Amazon. The API allowed Kindle users to link their Amazon accounts to the Lendle site, giving others access to lendable ebooks in their library.

Ars Technica describes how the service works:

Lendle users found it a nearly essential service for those looking to lend and borrow their purchased Kindle books. The service worked like this: once you made an account at Lendle, you could sync up with your Amazon account so that all of your purchased books were shown. Via the API, Lendle could figure out which books were lendable or not (Amazon leaves this decision up to the publishers, and users can only lend a book for 14 days to other users).

Lendle then listed books available for borrowing from other members. If you saw something you were curious about, you could request to borrow it—users had the ability to authorize each request before the book was lended.

The article also explains that Lendle did not break any DRM or otherwise violate any of Amazon’s Kindle TOS. The site doesn’t charge for the service or display ads. But they do link back to Amazon so users can buy ebooks themselves.

According to co-founder Jeff Croft, the system Lendle uses requires that people lend ebooks before they can borrow:

“Our site requires that you be willing to lend books before you can borrow them. We even went so far as to allow users to sync their Lendle accounts with their Kindle accounts, so that we could ensure anyone who borrows books on Lendle has previously purchased lendable books from Amazon. Our philosophy is: You can’t borrow if you don’t lend, and you can’t lend if you don’t buy.”

As of this writing, none of the other ebook lending websites reported having their API taken down by Amazon.

UPDATE: It appears that Amazon has reinstated API access for Lendle.

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