Amazon pulls the plug on

UPDATE – 3/23/2011- is back up! Hooray., one of the new and very popular ebook lending services, was shut down today. Amazon has pulled the plug on them. The API that connects them to the Amazon database has been revoked. According the a @lendleapp tweet, Amazon said Lendle doesn’t “serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.” Other lending sites have also had their API pulled according to this statement from Lendle.

Lendle has said they’ll find a way to rebuild their service if their API isn’t restored and they’ll continue to lend ebooks. (hooray!)

Is this a smart move by Amazon or short sighted? Are the pondering getting into this business themselves? Will Barnes & Noble follow suit with their Nook books? Frankly, if I were a bookseller, I’d want that the swapping to be happening right on my own website, where I can keep my customer’s eyeballs on other products.

Read through some of the lendle tweets today and you’ll find many people saying they’ve actually bought more ebooks as a result of the book lending sites. I’m one of them! I’ve always bought paper books, borrowed from the library and from friends. And now I’m doing the same with ebooks.  I’ve borrowed ebooks from my library and also purchased titles from Amazon. Knowing I could lend an Kindle book to someone on Lendle and in return be able to borrow a title from someone else has definitely influenced my recent purchases.  Each book I buy is essentially giving me access to 2 titles, cutting my costs in half. Admittedly, Amazon isn’t getting that second sale from me. But they did get the first sale – one that they likely wouldn’t have gotten in the first place if it hadn’t been for book swapping sites.

My purchasing of Amazon ebooks will decrease now. And the library will be getting an increased share of my book business. (Oops, unless of course I’m that 27th borrower of a HarperCollins title – not going there tonight…)

I’ve just checked some other book swapping sites.,  ebookfling,  lendink and all let me request Kindle books, but it’s hard to tell if any of those requests will be honored. There’s no indication if Amazon has pulled the plug on them too.

What do you think? Have you tried any book lending sites? Has it influenced your purchasing with Amazon or B&N?