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Prime members can’t find and access Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books any longer. They are presented with Prime Reading or Kindle Unlimited books, instead.
Right now, Kindle Unlimited members can access over 1.4 million free books, comics, magazines, and audiobooks. Why pay for the separate subscription, if you can access these books for free thanks to your Amazon Prime and Kindle Owner’s Lending Library?
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) – a part of Amazon Prime multi-benefit subscription service – despite its several flaws, had one huge advantage: it was giving access to a large catalog of eligible books, comparable to Kindle Unlimited.
The thing is that you can’t, any longer. Amazon has not announced a termination of KOLL, but the service is practically unreachable. Here are 5 proofs:
1st proof: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library front page has a limited functionality, presenting a slider with two dozen books, with a headline “Thousands of Books to Borrow”. What’s more, these books come with “Kindle Unlimited” label.
2nd proof: Old ways to find Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books don’t work. Amazon has removed from their website all hints of KOLL eligibility. These hints were previously present in the dedicated KOLL catalog, on browse and search pages, as well as on product pages.
3rd proof: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library was removed from an official list of Prime Membership benefits. Among the benefits for readers, you will find Prime Reading, Amazon First Reads, Prime Print Magazines, and Prime Book Box, but no KOLL. It’s also worth noting that Kindle First, early access to Amazon editors’ favorite new books, was also removed from a list of Prime benefits.
4th proof: KOLL is not available among featured links in both Kindle apps and Kindle e-readers. When you enter Discover section, you will see quick links to Kindle Unlimited, Prime Reading, as well as Amazon Charts, but no Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
5th proof: When you search Amazon for “Kindle Owners Lending Library” you are presented with a list of Kindle Unlimited books. Also, you will see an interesting thing on the top of a list: a familiar Kindle app logo and the headline saying “Kindle Lending Library.” If you click on it, you will land in general Kindle support pages. What’s more, two links underneath direct to articles explaining how to check out Kindle books from a public library.
As you see, this Amazon Prime benefit tailored for occasional readers has been practically discontinued – users can’t access eligible books any longer.
It’s worth noting that information about Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is still available on Amazon Prime help pages.
An easy explanation of why Amazon decided to fade out KOLL is that there is another Prime benefit that’s addressed to subscribers who are interested in books and audiobooks: Prime Reading.
The problem is that these two services have one major difference: a number of eligible books.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library had two major disadvantages: it allowed borrowing only one book per month, and allowed reading only on Amazon devices (either Kindle e-readers or Fire tablets). However, you could choose a free book from a vast catalog. In 2015, over 1 million titles were available for borrow via KOLL. Assuming both KOLL and Kindle Unlimited have similarly growing catalogs, it would have been over 1.4 million eligible books by now.
You may say Amazon Prime Reading is also a great service for occasional readers. What’s more, you can download and read more than one ebook or audiobook per month, and you don’t need a Kindle for that (any free Kindle app works with the service, as well).
The only problem with Prime Reading is that you can choose from some 3 thousand books, not 1.4 million. The list is rotating but the rule is simple: with Prime Reading, you can only read what everyone else is reading (and only think what everyone else is thinking – Haruki Murakami).
By removing Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, as well and developing new incentives to sign up for Kindle Unlimited, Amazon is clearly trying to convince customers to use two subscription-based services simultaneously.
Are you going to stick with Prime, using Prime Reading, or switch to Kindle Unlimited?
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