Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is a part of Amazon Prime membership that costs $99 a year.
If you join Prime, among many benefits you will have access to over 1 million books included in Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and be able to:
- borrow one – and only one – book per month,
- keep that book as long as you want – there are no due dates.
Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to join Prime just to be able to borrow books from KOLL. You should check out Kindle Unlimited, instead.
This simple guide includes the following sections – and you can quickly jump to them right here:
- Things to know
- A list of available books
- KOLL or Kindle Unlimited?
- Finding eligible books
- Cancellation terms
- Cost calculations
The most important benefit of Kindle Unlimited is the fact that it’s a part of a versatile membership program. With Prime, you will be able to buy or rent digital movies and songs, and qualify for a free shipping of millions of physical items.
Below, you’ll find most important facts about Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, accompanied by tables, lists, and usage tips.
If you’d like to discuss any issue related to Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, feel free to ask a question or share your experience in the comment section below the post.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – lists, facts, and tips
Things to know
The most important thing to keep in mind is that Kindle Owner’s Lending Library is not a service on its own.
Therefore, trying to evaluate it in separation from other features offered via Prime membership is a logical mistake.
Amazon Prime includes a variety of services and features. Their common denominator is that they are available in Amazon store, and nowhere else.
Check out in the table below, what you’ll get from Prime besides Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Amazon Prime – a complete list of features
- Free Two-Day Shipping – on eligible items to addresses in the contiguous U.S.,
- Free Same-Day Delivery – in certain areas,
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – you can borrow one book each calendar month; the catalog includes over 1 million Kindle ebooks,
- Kindle First – early access to download a new book for free every month from the Kindle First picks,
- Prime Instant Video – unlimited streaming of movies and TV episodes – over 20,000 titles,
- Prime Music – unlimited, ad-free access to hundreds of Prime playlists and over 1.5 million songs,
- Prime Photos – secure unlimited photo storage in Amazon Cloud Drive,
- Prime Pantry – members can purchase low priced grocery, household, and pet care items for a flat delivery fee of $5.99,
- Amazon Elements – access to Amazon’s line of everyday essentials,
- Prime Early Access – 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals and new events on MyHabit.com,
- Membership sharing – Prime members may share the account with up to four eligible household members living at the same address.
As you see, there are different benefits waiting for you across the entire Amazon website.
The membership is aimed at customers who shop for different products, both physical goods (free shipping) and digital content (free access).
When you decide to join Prime, make sure you are aware of two limitations that relate to Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
1. You can borrow one book a month
Within Prime membership, you are eligible to borrow a Kindle book just like you borrow a book from a library.
There is no due date. The book won’t disappear from your device until you replace it with a new title.
There is one important limitation, though: you can borrow at most one book per month. So, even if you can read four books per month, only one of them can be borrowed from KOLL.
2. You’ll need to have a Kindle or Fire device
Getting Amazon Prime doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get access to KOLL.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library book can only be read on a registered device made by Amazon:
- Kindle e-reader, like Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyage,
- Fire tablet, like Fire HD6 or Fire HDX 8.9; also Fire Phone.
You will not be able to read KOLL books on the Kindle app (such as Kindle for iOS, Android, PC, or Mac).
A list of available books
When Kindle Owners’ Lending Library launched in November 2011, there were only some 5,000 eligible ebooks.
Currently, the catalog includes over 1 million titles. It’s more than 25% of the entire Kindle Store, which now offers 3.7 million titles.
There are three things to know about the books offered via Kindle Owners’ Lending Library:
- the majority of titles are exclusive to Kindle Store – up to 40-50k KOLL books are not exclusive to the Kindle Store,
- there are no books from the big publishers – if you are looking for bestsellers from Random House or Simon & Schuster, you’ll be disappointed – they are not included in KOLL, although you can buy them in the Kindle Store.
- a majority of books cost less than $5 – it’s because there are no books from the Big 5, which are usually expensive.
Lack of the bestselling titles from the big publishers is the weakest point of Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
For now on, most of the books that populate Kindle Owners’ Lending Library are:
- the ones self-published by authors via Amazon’s self-pub platform, KDP,
- published by Amazon’s imprints, such as Thomas & Mercer or Montlake.
We’ve checked Top 20 Kindle bestsellers against their availability in Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The results are shown below:
KOLL books in Top 20 Kindle bestsellers
|Bad Boy Daddy – Chance Carter||Yes||$0.99|
|The Martian: A Novel – Andy Weir||No||$8.99|
|The Air He Breathes – Brittainy Cherry||Yes||$2.99|
|The Survivor – Vince Flynn||No||$14.99|
|The Good Neighbor – A. J. Banner||Yes||$4.99|
|The Prettiest One – James Hankins||Yes||$5.99|
|The Towers of Tuscany – Carol M. Cram||Yes||$3.99|
|Wrong – Jana Aston||No||$2.99|
|The Murder House – James Patterson||No||$14.99|
|Owned by the Bad Boy – Vanessa Waltz||Yes||$0.99|
|Still Waters – Viveca Sten||Yes||$5.99|
|The Girl in the Spider’s Web – David Lagercrantz||No||$13.99|
|Last Immortal Dragon – T.S. Joyce||Yes||$0.99|
|Make Me – Lee Child||No||$14.99|
|Killing Reagan – Bill O’Reilly||No||$12.99|
|The Allure of Dean Harper – R.S. Grey||Yes||$2.99|
|Juliet – Anne Fortier||No||$1.99|
|After You – Jojo Moyes||No||$12.99|
|Code Name Verity – Elizabeth E. Wein||No||$5.99|
|Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter||No||$12.99|
As you see, half of the Kindle top sellers are included in KOLL. However, the eligible books don’t come from famous authors, like Nora Roberts, Lee Child, or James Patterson.
Why? Because the most famous authors have contracts with the Big 5 publishers. And – as I already mentioned – the Big 5 publishers didn’t agree to include their books in KOLL.
Does that mean that there are no good reads available via KOLL? Not at all! If you love reading books in favorite categories, you’ll find plenty of interesting titles to read. Some of the not only made it to Kindle bestsellers list but also The New York Times.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited?
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is very often confused with Kindle Unlimited, as these two services are offered in a subscription format.
First of all, let’s define what is what:
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is part of Amazon Prime membership. When you join Prime, for $99 a year, you will be able to borrow from KOLL one book a month.
Kindle Unlimited is separate from Amazon Prime and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. This is a different subscription service. For $9.99 a month you can read as many books as you want, but you can have 10 books at the same time on your account.
Find the comparison of major features below, and then we’ll go through major topics.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library vs. Kindle Unlimited
|Feature||Kindle Owners’ Lending Library||Kindle Unlimited|
|Number of books to have at a time||1||10|
|Number of books to have a month||1||Unlimited|
|Access from Kindle & Fire device||Yes||Yes|
|Access from Kindle application (iPad, Android)||No||Yes|
|Number of available titles||1,000,000+||1,000,000+|
(part of Prime – 99$/year)
Let’s now briefly compare the two service in three areas. You’ll find more details in KOLL vs. Kindle Unlimited comparison:
- a limit on the number of books,
- eligible devices and apps,
- available titles,
1. A limit on the number of books
In Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, you will be able to read at most one book per month. Even if you finish and return it, you can’t borrow the next book before the month’s end.
Kindle Unlimited gives much more flexibility. You can read as many books as you can handle. It could be 1 or it could be 30 (if you are able to read one book a day). However, there is one major limitation: you can have only 10 Kindle Unlimited books on your account at the same time.
In other words, if want to add the eleventh Kindle Unlimited book to your account, you’ll have to finish and remove one of the ten books you currently have.
3. Eligible devices and apps
It’s where Kindle Unlimited is a clear winner.
You can read Kindle Unlimited books on:
- Amazon devices – like Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, Fire 7, or Fire HD 10,
- Kindle apps – like the Kindle app on the iPad/iPhone, or Kindle for Android.
You can read Kindle Owners’ Lending Library only on Amazon devices. You won’t be able to access them from a Kindle app on the iOS or Android tablet or phone – even if you are an Amazon Prime member.
It’s important that people know about this limitation of Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. Some users buy Prime without checking out whether they can use KOLL if they don’t own a Kindle e-reader or a Fire tablet – and they can’t.
3. Available titles
What’s important to know is that a vast majority of books are common to both services. If a book is available via Kindle Unlimited, it’s also usually available to borrow from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
There is one exception when it comes to famous book series. Harry Potter books are included in Kindle Unlimited, and essentially helped draw a huge attention to the service when it was launched in July 2014.
The attractiveness of both services will jump high the day Amazon will finally come to an agreement with the Big 5.
Finding eligible books
There are three ways to find KOLL-eligible ebooks on Amazon:
- Search the catalog of Prime-eligible books.
- Find books on search and browse pages.
- Check the details on product pages.
1. In the catalog of Prime-eligible books
Instead of going to Kindle Owners’ Lending Library home page (which lists only a limited number of recommended books), you can visit a browse page of Prime eligible books. It’s linked from a Books category on Amazon, not the Kindle Store.
Undoubtedly, this is the best way to find out whether Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is attractive enough for your reading preferences.
1 million titles is a lot. Finding a favorite book in this list may be a problem because using the search box here won’t show the results narrowed to KOLL books.
By default, the list sorts books by “featured”. These books were picked by Amazon as the most interesting ones. It could usually mean they are the bestselling books, but it also means they are books Amazon want to become bestsellers.
So, what are the ways to make the most of this section?
First, you can change the sort order to “average customer review” or “most reviews” to find out what readers like.
The other way is to narrow down the list to specific categories and find out what’s hot there. There are almost 400,000 titles in Literature & Fiction category. You’ll find 65,000 books in Mystery & Thrillers. YA includes 50,000 titles.
The left sidebar will also let you pick up the newly released books (last 90 or 30 days), books that received 4 stars or more, or books in a specific language if you are looking for non-English titles.
2. On search or browse pages
Prime-eligible items (there are over 22 million of them) are usually very well marked on Amazon. You will find a small Prime logo under the product’s title or name.
However, it’s a bit more difficult when it comes to Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books. You won’t find the Prime logo in the default view – “list” (like on the screenshot below).
There is a quick trick to find out whether an ebook is included in Kindle Owners’ Lending Library or not. Simply switch the view from “list” to “grid”, like in the screenshot below.
From now on, all Prime-eligible items are clearly marked with a Prime logo.
There is one thing to remember. Both a print and Kindle edition of a single book could be Prime-eligible. In the case of print books, it means a free two-day shipping. In the case of ebooks, it means the inclusion in Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Prime logo under the title may mean the print book is eligible, but Kindle is not. To find it out, simply hover over the cover of the book.
To let you better understand the difference, I prepared a simple comparison between two books that are Prime-eligible: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and Robert Masello’s The Einstein Prophecy.
On hover information of Go Set a Watchman, you’ll see only one Prime logo – next to paperback version. It means the book qualifies for free shipping. Kindle version is not marked with Prime. That means it’s not included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
On the right side, you’ll see that both versions of Robert Masello’s bestseller are Prime-eligible.
3. On product pages
If you happen to land on Amazon directly on a product page of a book, for instance from Google web search, you can still find out whether this particular book is included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Under the Kindle edition module, you’ll see Prime logo and the text saying “Borrow for free”. It means this book is included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
When you sign up to Amazon Prime, you will enjoy first 30 days for free. The day after, you’ll be automatically charged with the first fee.
You have to keep in mind that Amazon Prime is a yearly subscription. The fee you’ll have to pay in advance is $99. Therefore, you’ll have to me more careful in managing the subscription.
Test all the features in the first three weeks of a free trial, and leave the fourth week for a decision whether you want to continue (and pay) or not. If you cancel the subscription before the 30th day, you won’t pay a penny for Amazon Prime membership.
When you cancel the membership after being charged, you won’t get a refund for the remaining period. You will have access to all the features until the first year of subscription ends.
What happens with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library book when the subscription ends? It will disappear from your Kindle device the first time it will start syncing with Amazon servers.
You will, however, keep all the notes and highlights that you made in all the books borrowed from Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. You will be able to access them online at kindle.amazon.com.
When you want to buy a Kindle bestseller, such as Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, you’ll have to pay more than 10 dollars. Therefore, the monthly cost of Amazon Prime – $8.25 – could easily fund the cost of this book.
Well, this is a theory. There are no $10 bestsellers available via KOLL, because these bestsellers are sold by Big 5 publishers.
You’ll have to assume the average price of a KOLL-eligible book is well under $5.
Here is the data from the table of Top 20 Kindle bestsellers:
- the total price of the 9 eligible books is $29.91,
- the lowest price of the eligible book is $0.99,
- the highest price of the eligible book is $5.99,
- the average price of the eligible book is $3.32.
Limiting cost calculations only to one feature offered within the larger membership program, is not the right way to go. The membership program is a perfect solution for customers who occasionally shop for different products.
Therefore, it makes more sense to calculate average savings on a basket of items, like in an example below:
- save on shipping one physical good – $4.98,
- save on watching one movie in HD quality – $4.99,
- save on buying one Kindle book – $2.99.
It makes a total of $12.96 per month. Let’s add a TV series to the basket – you have a favorite TV show, right? Four episodes, for $1.99 each, make $7.96. You’ll save more than $10 a month on a quite moderate shopping activity.
To let you analyze KOLL and Amazon Prime in detail, we’ve collected the most relevant links below:
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library help page – an article that will show you how to borrow an eligible book from a Kindle e-reader, or a Fire tablet. This is the only article on Amazon that deals with KOLL,
- Amazon Prime help pages – overview, managing ownership, eligible items,
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – a list of titles – this list of Prime-eligible books is the best way to browse for the most popular KOLL titles on Amazon,
• • •
All images via Amazon.
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