Sharing books & Amazon’s Kindle

Dale Dougherty argues that Amazon needs to allow Kindle users to share their books with friends and family.  I disagree.  I think the model of sharing a physical book is changing to a model of recommending books and rating them. 

  • Amazon’s rating model has drastically changed the way users buy books.  I won’t buy a book without first checking the Amazon rating!
  • We are already familiar with the idea of sharing recommendations instead of the object itself.  Most of us recommend movies to our friends but don’t actually have the DVD to pass out.
  • Most of the friends and family I would share books with are not local.  I’d rather buy a cheaper book, not pay shipping and then buy them an Amazon gift certificate.  They can then either buy the books I recommend or another book that they’d rather read.
  • Most of us want instantaneous access to the book or movie we want to see.  If I could download it immediately from Amazon’s library and read it this weekend (if the price was right) or wait a week for my friend to mail it to me, more often than not I would just buy it.  This is why I end up buying new books from Amazon instead of used ones.  I subscribe to Prime shipping and I know I’ll get the book in two days instead of a week or two!

So while it would be nice to be able to share or resell Kindle books, I think as long as the price is right (to reflect the fact that you can’t resell or share them), I think the model will work.