Lendle.me – an updated review

LendleIt has been about 18 months since I last updated my review of Lendle.  And since I loaned my 350th book there yesterday it seemed like a good time to do that.

Lendle.me is a website that facilitates book lending between kindle owners.  Kindle owners can loan or borrow any books that publishers authorize as ‘lendable’.   In my library approximately 30 percent of books are lendable.

One of the problems of Lendle is that the publishers decide if there books are lendable or not.  So most independent authors make their books lendable, about half of Christian publishers.  Also Open Road Media, which has a lot of literary fiction authors like Susan Howatch, Octavia Butler and Dorothy Sayers, Oxford Press and several other decently well known smaller publishers make books lendable as well.

Many have suggested that Rick Riordan and Suzanne Collins (of Percy Jackson and Hunger Games fame) had such good word of mouth about their books because they both make there books lendable.

Lendle works on a give one get one system.  You earn borrowing credits by making your own books available to lend to others.  It can take a little work to determine what books you have that are lendable and then to add them to Lendle.  It would be nice if Amazon allowed Lendle to scan your library and do it automatically.  That used to be part of Amazon’s API, but Amazon removed it.

About a year ago the ownership of Lendle changed hands.  I think it has been well run since then, but one major feature (paying book owners to lend) has gone away.  I understand that it didn’t make financial sense in the long term to pay people to loan books as a free service.  Since then it does not appear that lending has dropped off.

Right now there are 161,000 books available (this is not different books, but 161,000 copies of books available to lend.)  One feature that it would be nice if there was a way to monitor users’ activity.  If a user has not participate in over a year, and they are the only owner of the book you want to borrow, you will probably not be able to borrow that book.  That being said, most of the time when I have requested a book, I get it within the hour, or at least within the next day.

Another complaint, which I do not know how much the owners of Lendle have control, is that on the main page (which shows recently added books) usually about half of the books covers are erotica.  For those that are not interested, I think it is off-putting. Personally I rarely go directly to the main page, instead I usually go to the Books Available Now or Books I Own to lend books.

If you notice a book you are interested in on Amazon and it is lendable, there is a Chrome extension that will take you directly to that book on Lendle to see if it is available to borrow.  But the book needs to be set up correctly on Amazon and it seems about half the time (especially with independent books) it is not set up correctly and you get an error.

For $25 you can become a patron member at Lendle.  This made a little more sense when patron members got a slightly higher payment rate.  But the main reason to do it now, is that you can create a wishlist of books you want to borrow eventually, but not right now.  Regular members can only request a book, and if the book becomes available, then you have 7 days to accept the book and 14 days to read it.  (Note: the way to get around the 14 day limit is to turn off the wifi or 3G on your kindle so it doesn’t know that it is expired.)

Overall, I am very happy with Lendle and I am an active member.  I have loaned 350 books.  I have borrowed 66 books.  I have put 452 books in my wishlist.  Right now of the 452 that I have in a wishlist, about 30 have available copies and I could request them. The remaining books are books that I would like to read, but no one on Lendle has made a copy of the book available.

There are also a couple minor layout and functionality issues I would like to suggest.  On your borrow request page, books that you have already borrowed stay in the list.  You can delete the book from the list before you borrow it, but not after you borrow it.  It is annoying to have to sort through books you already have borrowed while looking for the books you want to borrow.

But on the whole the site is functional, free to use (as long as you are willing to loan) and is a good way to get free books.

The earlier review of Lendle is here.

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