So What Do You Think About Amazon’s Kindle Lending Program By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

I often use a “Q&A a la Ann Landers” format as part of my SharingwithWriters newsletter. I became a regular reader of her columns when I started my first job in journalism and part of my duties were to make her column fit the “society page” layout. In other words, edit it to fit. Gasp! I cringed every time I had to delete a word, but I learned much from her—about life and about editing! So, I chose this for Judith’s column because I am still hearing from authors who don’t quite understand how the concept of borrowing a book benefits their marketing campaign. And because the format encourages people to read the whole thing! 


How do you feel about the free borrowing feature offered by Amazon to their Prime members for their Kindle books?  


I don’t think any of us would have objected to library lending back in the days before Kindle. Yes, there are some differences—not least of which is that libraries bought the books they lent. But benefits of lending programs still exist—whether we’re talking library or Kindle lending. Here are some of them:

  • Libraries buy books for their shelves, too. An e-book that does well in a library may also be considered for their system-wide purchases. That can be quite a Ka-Ching for books so chosen by large library systems. Sometimes 50 books or more.
  • Amazon provides a stipend from their huge KDP Select global Fund when customers read their books from the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. It’s based on how many pages the reader actually turns (or reads). Amazon announces the amount to money that goes into that fun regularly.
  • Loaned books allow people who can’t afford a book (or won’t spend the money) to read them. Most authors want their books to read.
  • Readership–purchased or borrowed—will likely increase the buzz about a book which results in more sales. And that goes back to the last bullet point: People who can’t afford a book often help create a buzz, too.
  • Activity on book lending gets noticed by Amazon’s algorithms every time borrows your book.
  1. Because the more action you have on your Amazon account, the more likely Amazon’s logarithms will be to peg your book for additional exposure.

There is another big advantage. If your book is available to borrow, say through Amazon’s Prime program, reviewers are often just as happy accessing your book that way instead of having you send a hard copy to them. That’s a saving of time and money for the author. In fact, that is one of the tips I give in the latest addition to my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.  It is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.


One last thing, borrowing of any kind may minimize your carbon footprint. That’s important for authors who are also greenies.

The details of the Amazon program are at  Or click on the link near the upper right on your KDP dashboard page.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoterand The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 

The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is


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