When Amazon announced the upcoming ability to lend books to other Kindle users “later this year” they really weren’t kidding. Now, one day before New Year’s Eve, Amazon has made this ability available to anyone who owns Kindle eBooks.
I say anyone who owns the eBooks because you don’t actually need a Kindle device to loan or receive a book. The Kindle reader software is available on many other platforms, and those platforms can take advantage just as well as a Kindle can.
The terms of lending are pretty strict right now; you can lend a given book only once, and only for 14 days, and only if the publisher has agreed to those terms for that book. That doesn’t surprise me all that much though. The eBook market itself is still relatively young, so they’ll want to test the waters first with a restricted test case. Down the road, I wouldn’t be surprised to see loaning terms relax quite a bit once publishers are certain it won’t kill the market.