I was browsing nonfiction in Amazon’s Kindle Book store today and happened to notice that in addition to my usual purchase options for the book Phishing Exposed, there was an option to “Rent this book”.
A little more research cleared things up for me. Renting is an option that publishers can make available on e-Textbooks. The idea is to allow students to rent their costly textbooks only for the length of their class term, rather than buying them outright. So the book I was looking at is apparently classified as an e-Textbook, and its publisher opted in for the rental program. Different books offer different rental periods at different price points, generally getting closer to the actual purchase price the longer the rental period.
However, there was no indication on the book’s product page that this was a textbook, and I’d just been browsing in nonfiction, not the Kindle Textbooks store. That means anyone browsing the Kindle Book Store could find this rental option on a book and wonder if this is some new, general Kindle book feature. Well, it’s not, but so far as I can tell any Amazon customer is allowed to rent Kindle books that have the rental option.
While I can’t imagine many scenarios where it would make sense for me to rent a Kindle book — which is basically just a paid borrow —, if you’ve got kids in college, are an educator, or work in a highly technical or scientific field, Kindle e-Textbook rentals may be a great cost-savings opportunity for you to get access to costly books.