On This Week in Tech 2004: Taste Like Dirt, Dwight Silverman proposed an interesting idea: to be able to lend books in the Kindle. The book would become unavailable on your Kindle and available on the other person’s Kindle, and after two weeks the book comes back automatically. I don’t think that feature would ever be implemented because it’s not on the publicist best interest.
It would be very simple to have a web app of people lending each other books across the world in a very organized and systematic way. The reason is that there’s no danger for the lender, the book will come back automatically. It’s not the same as lending a real dead tree paper book.
The solution is simple: don’t make it automatic for books to come back. Have the borrower have to press a button to return it. And if the borrower never does then you lose the book. Then you would only lend them to people you trust (not in a p2p-network way) or when you don’t care about losing the book.
What about book swapping? I don’t see a way to implement book swapping without allowing a systematic peer to peer network to exist. That leads me to the issue of DRM, which I’m not going to talk about now.
Reviewed by Daniel Magliola. Thank you!