How to loan ebooks on the nook with LendMe service
I have now written a few articles on the B&N Nook (see my first impressions and content article 1 and article 2) and continue to test out and discover how capable this ebook reader is. Navigation on the device takes a bit of practice, but with the amazing content and eInk display I am able to enjoy the best reading experience of any ebook reader I have tried and if you are all about the reading then you should be happy with the nook. One of the unique features of the nook compared to any other ebook reader is the capability to loan books to friends, almost like you can with a real book. There are limitations put on from the publishers, but the process is fairly straight forward. The LendMe capability is in beta and support for more titles is still being rolled out in the Barnes & Noble library.
I have now written a few articles on the B&N Nook (see my first impressions and content article 1 and article 2) and continue to test out and discover how capable this ebook reader is. Navigation on the device takes a bit of practice, but with the amazing content and eInk display I am able to enjoy the best reading experience of any ebook reader I have tried and if you are all about the reading then you should be happy with the nook. One of the unique features of the nook compared to any other ebook reader is the capability to loan books to friends, almost like you can with a real book. There are limitations put on from the publishers, but the process is fairly straight forward. The LendMe capability is in beta and support for more titles is still being rolled out in the Barnes & Noble library. Take a look at my image gallery for shots of the process in receiving loaned books and for loaning books to others.
Image Gallery:A walk through receiving a loaned book and loaning a book out on the nook using the LendMe technology.
LendMe service; capabilities and limitations
The basics of the LendMe service is that you can lend supported books ONE time to ONE person for a period up to 14 days. You can loan multiple books to the same person, but each supported book is only able to be lent out by you once. I understand this is a limitation placed on the books by publishers, but at least it is a step in the right direction and maybe we will see this limitation change in the future.
The books are available to the person who received the loaned book for free for up to 14 days and can be returned by the reader earlier if they finish in just a few days or something. To be clear, the owner cannot then lend that book out again to someone else, EVER.
Receiving a loan
A member of the Barnes & Noble PR team loaned me an ebook and a notification bubble appeared in the lower left of my nook display. I then went to My Library and saw that there was an offer to accept page (see the screenshot in my image gallery). You then use the touch color display to choose Yes, borrow this or No, thank you. If you turn down the loan then the book rights are returned to the owner and they can read the book or try lending it out to someone else. The lend offer is valid for 7 days so the person can decide if they want to read it or not. If 7 days goes by without a response, then the rights are returned to the lender.
After you accept the offer, then the word Download appears on your bottom color display so you can add it to your device. You will then see the book in your library with the words From a friend after the book title. The number of remaining days of the loan also appears so you know how long you have left to read the book.
You can return the book before the 14 day period expires, but currently only through the Barnes & Noble website and not from the nook.
Loaning a book to a friend
I made a comment in my first impressions article that I didn't know what the Contacts utility was for and at that time I forgot about the LendMe technology. You obviously need Contacts so you can lend books to people. Here are the steps to lend out books:
Buy a lendable book. At this time about 50% of the B&N library is eligible for LendMe. As you can see in my image gallery, when accessing the B&N website an icon will appear close to the book title that informs you if LendMe is supported or not so if this is something you want to try and use then pay attention when you buy books on the website. This notice does not yet appear on the store front on the nook itself.
Choose that book title in your library
Select the option to Lend in the menu (shown in my image gallery)
Add a contact or select an existing one. Name and email address are all that is required.
Type a note for your contact, optional
Submit and confirm the loan
That's it and after the person accepts the loan offer you will see the words On loan appear in your library list of books. You will not be able to read the book until it comes off loan. If you loan a book to someone and they already have the title in their own library, then you will receive a message that the book has not been lent to prevent duplication and prevent you from using your one time loan to someone who already owns the title.
Now, keep in mind your friend doesn't need a nook to receive and read the loaned book. They can use the nook, a compatible ebook reader, or a B&N eReader-enabled device (PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and iPhone at this time). I am not sure exactly what that "compatible ebook reader" means, but am trying to find out from my PR contact.
Also, once a lending offer has been sent, it cannot be retracted so make sure you want to lend your book that one time to the designated contact. You also cannot lend a book that has been loaned to you.
What do I think of LendMe?
It was quite easy to lend books and received loaned books and 14 days seems to be a reasonable amount of time to read through a book, which is much like what our local library does for loaning books. I would like a way to extend that if you are part way through the book, but then again their business model is to have you at least start a book and if you like it then you will buy it too.
I am finding one MAJOR issue with this so far and that is when I go back to the loaned book from another book I get put back to the front cover and when I select Go to furthest read it doesn't go anywhere. I have learned to read to a chapter end and then jump to that chapter start when I go back in, but this is unacceptable for an ebook reader and is a bug that needs to be worked out. When I go back into other books in my library, the nook properly goes to my furthest read point.
This is the first ebook service to support this capability and at this time it is unique. The LendMe service is currently in beta testing and is working quite well. There can be improvements made in a couple notifications and ability to see which books are lendable directly from the store on the nook.
I imagine there will be sites appearing to facilitate book lending too so that you may be able to find books you want to receive via loan from a central repository while posting what books you have available to lend.