Amazon.com Inc. this week began the Kindle Library Lending service in 11,000 U.S. public libraries.
The service, facilitated by Overdrive – a digital content solutions company, allows Kindle customers to download and borrow free books from local libraries.
Users can visit their participating local library website to view books available for lending to Kindle devices. When the checkout time limit is reached the book is removed from the Kindle device.
The Wall Street Journal in Sept. reported that Amazon is in discussions to offer a digital-book library to Amazon Prime members, which currently pay $79 for expedited shipping and access to Amazon Instant Video content services.
Amazon will offer publishers a fee for participation in the book subscription program, according to the report.
The e-book subscription service may be in preparation for a new Kindle tablet to be based on Google Inc.’s Android OS.
The DigiTimes in Aug. said Amazon’s 7-inch tablet PC will be supplied by Quanta Computer and is expected to start shipping this Oct.
Meanwhile, a 10.1-inch tablet to be supplied by Foxconn Electronics will be produced in the first quarter of 2012.
Foxconn currently manufactures the popular Amazon Kindle e-reader.
Forrester Research Inc. this week said Amazon.com Inc. may sell up to five million tablets in the fourth quarter of 2011 should the company market a device at under $300 this fall.
Amazon is expected to enter the tablet market with a product said to be a few hundred dollars less than Apple Inc.’s iPad. It is expected to utilize Google Inc.’s Android OS.
The iPad, which currently dominates the tablet market at 30 million units sold, shipped 9.25 million units in the third quarter of 2011.
Market demand has been fickle for Android-based tablets. Products like the XOOM from Motorola Mobility Inc. and the Galaxy Tab from Samsung Group have failed to make a significant dent with consumers due to $400 to $600 price tags.
However, the clearance of HP Co.’s TouchPad device to $99.00 has proven consumers will purchase a tablet if the price is right.
Analysts expect a tablet from Amazon to sell between $249 and $349.