Amazon Revolutionizes Books…Again

What's Hot

23 Upgrades Under $50 to Make Your House Look AwesomeAround The House

Trump Worth $10 Billion Less Than If He’d Simply Invested in Index FundsBusiness

Do This or Your iPhone Bill May SkyrocketSave

11 Places in the World Where You Can Afford to Retire in StyleMore

19 Moves That Will Help You Retire Early and in StyleFamily

What You Need to Know for 2017 Obamacare EnrollmentFamily

8 Things Rich People Buy That Make Them Look DumbAround The House

50 Ways to Make a Fast $50 (or Lots More)Grow

32 of the Highest-Paid American SpeakersMake

The 35 Two-Year Colleges That Produce the Highest EarnersCollege

5 DIY Ways to Make Your Car Smell GreatCars

Amazon Prime No Longer Pledges Free 2-Day Shipping on All ItemsMore

More Caffeine Means Less Dementia for WomenFamily

7 Household Hacks That Save You CashAround The House

5 Reasons a Roth IRA Should Be Part of Your Retirement PlanGrow

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

Beware These 10 Retail Sales Tricks That Get You to Spend MoreMore

9 Tips to Ensure You’ll Have Enough to RetireFamily

Amazon hopes to marry the benefits of a traditional public library with the advantages of the digital age.

I’m just old enough to remember physically checking a book out of the library. After locating something I wanted to read on a shelf organized by a numeric system based on the author’s name, a librarian would stamp a due date on an index card stored in a pocket glued to the back cover of the book and it was mine to keep until that date.

While the book was free, the process of obtaining it was cumbersome, and seems like one of those things my future kids will analogize with sharpening a stone spear tip. So when something came along that allowed me to search through tens of thousands of books from my bedside, tap on one that seemed interesting, and start reading it immediately, I jumped ship and have been buying e-books ever since.

But I traded convenience for price. Instead of checking out books for free, I paid for every one I read to be electronically sent to me. While a reading habit will almost never break the bank, I missed the days of free books.

Fast forward more than a decade and there have been quite a few attempts to let digital readers like me “check out” digital books gratis. Money Talks founder Stacy Johnson wrote about library e-lending efforts last year in Thousands of E-books: Free. But as he said in that article and video, libraries are meeting resistance from some publishers, and there are limited copies of popular e-books.  A partnership between Amazon and 11,000 public libraries varies widely in ease-of-use and book availability depending on where you live.

Fortunately, Amazon just came out with something new that makes borrowing books as simple as buying them.

The Kindle Owner’s Lending Library allows Amazon Prime members to borrow one book a month for free. There are no due dates or late fees, so you have the book until you finish reading it. And you can start reading whenever you want, too. Amazon will always have enough copies of a book for everyone who wants to read it.

In my case, I already have an Amazon Prime membership – a deal that gives you free two-day shipping, unlimited TV and movie streaming, and now free books for $79 a year – and a Kindle, so the only thing I need to do is figure out what book I’d like to read.

Initially, Amazon is offering a little more than 5,000 titles in its Lending Library, but they span all genres and include everything from The Hunger Games, to cookbooks, to SAT prep. Checking out a book is as simple as clicking a “Borrow for Free” button instead of a “Buy” button, and feels quite satisfying.

If you already have an Amazon Prime membership and a Kindle, this is a no-brainer. When you need something new to read, check the Lending Library first. There’s no sense in paying for something you can get free.

If you have a Kindle but haven’t signed up for Prime, now might be a good time to consider it. I’ve saved a fortune on the free shipping alone, with unlimited streaming of TV shows and movies as icing on the cake. But now that I may stop paying for books, it’s an unbeatable deal.

And if you love reading but haven’t tried a Kindle, do it. You can get one for as little as $79. Digital copies of books are typically priced lower than their paper ancestors, so an avid reader should have no problem getting the device to pay for itself (especially if you can make use of the Lending Library or are willing to accept the drawbacks of public-library-based digital lending). Mother Nature will thank you too.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: Sam’s Club Reveals Details of Black Friday, 5 Other Holiday Sales

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,721 more deals!