Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Amazon Dump Lendle By NoReply eMail

Amazon has acted and effectively shut down, Lendle, revoking its access to the API that made their ebook lending service possible. Interestingly it apparently sent its ‘Dear Lendle’ notice by a ‘no reply’ email (very 21st century!). Obviously if people lend and even rent books that changes the dynamics of the commercial model and Amazon would be naive to allow an entity to live off their service without a sizable contribution. It also muddies the waters for what Amazon may wish to do long term on lending and rentals. Finally, the customer relationship would exists outside of Amazon.

In our recent post ‘Freeing Libraries to Compete’ we identified the new services that were spawning to exploit Amazon’s lending facility. We thought it was an interesting and obvious development but was not one that really benefited Amazon long term, nor offered a sustainable model as the services were merely living off a facility that could change overnight and was at the whim and fancy of Amazon.

Another challenge that may have prompted Amazon would be the realisation that if others started to open up loans and enable APIs as these new providers could create cross service platforms, these services may be harder for Amazon to deal with. This way they cut it off before it has even started.

Other Amazon based e-book lending sites such as eBook Fling and the Book Lending Club, are still operating which begs the question whether Lendle just did something to violate their terms with Amazon or they were merely first in the queue.

The salient commercial lesson is not to build services that are totally dependant on one party allowing you to make a living off their back that may not be mutually beneficial.

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