Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is It Possible to Rent Books for The Kindle?

Imagine it's a Sunday afternoon and you're wearing your pajamas, watching TV. Suddenly, you remember about that paper that's due tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., and you haven't even read the book you're supposed to write about. What to do? Your school's already closed and every library in the city won't open till eight in the morning. You need the book, and you need it now. This is where renting books for your Kindle would come in handy.

What an idea: getting easy and fast access to books that you only need (or want) to read once. Your problem gets solved in ten minutes, and your paper should be done before you reach your deadline. The question expressed in the title is an easy one: in fact, at the time it is not possible to rent books for the Kindle.

Nevertheless, the question suggested seeks to answer a much more complicated issue: what would happen if it were, indeed, possible? Taking it to the next level, what if other users had the possibility to loan you their books and charge you for them? This would open a huge gate for virtual transactions without you having to move from your couch. The problem is: who holds the key for this gate? And moreover, could it be closed? Even if this sounds like a great idea and lots of Kindle users would approve right away, how to avoid copyright issues? Or on a more practical level: how much could you charge for lending a book? How much would you pay for renting a book for just a couple of hours? If in regular libraries we have a cute old librarian -probably named Agatha or Eugenia- lending us books and reminding us to bring it back at the end of the week, who would replace her job at a virtual loan? Although it's not an easy task to work out, it's definitely something that Kindle users should think about.

Nevertheless, not everything is pretty and pink. Even if it is a known fact that the world is now trying to be a synonym of "progress" and "development", it's not true that everything is pointing in the same direction. In fact, if today we come up with a way to rent books on Kindle, most likely tomorrow there will be an easier and cheaper way to do it.

Truth be told, the people who have access to any kind of public library is still a majority, in opposition of those who own a Kindle and can buy -let alone rent- books daily. Having this in mind, would it be worth the while creating a superstructure of imaginary books that people may or may not rent in the future? In terms of economy, it's certainly not simple. Anyhow, the idea is not entirely crazy. If we are thinking about this possibility, even with its problems, it's because we imagine it could happen. Even if it's not easy, it is at least conceivable.

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