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Amazon blocks Lendle e-book sharing service (update: it's back!)

Sean Hollister
03.22.11
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Whether via public library or personal collection, e-books may be getting harder to borrow and loan out -- HarperCollins put the squeeze on government-funded rentals last week, and today Amazon has allegedly disabled e-book sharing startup Lendle with one fell stroke. Lendle allows readers to trade e-book rentals, in a fashion, by tapping Amazon's API to list books they agree to loan out, and in return, gain access to a Lendle database of books available to borrow from readers like themselves. The service allegedly fell under the auspices of Amazon's existing 14-day, one-time-only loaning policy, but that didn't stop Amazon from revoking Lendle's access to the API, effectively shutting the service down. According to the no-reply email Lendle received, the reason is that the service doesn't "serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site." Perhaps there's some deeper reason behind the move, but that explanation certainly sounds pretty narrow-minded.

Update: Well that was quick -- Lendle is now reporting that Amazon has reinstated its API access under the condition that Lendle disables its Book Sync tool, which is a non-essential feature anyway. Great, just in time for bedtime stories on the west coast as well.

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