Amazon Expands Ebook Rentals Beyond Textbooks – Maybe Not

Amazon launched Kindle textbook rentals earlier this year, and it looks like they might have expanded beyond just textbooks.

Strange Histories  is a non-traditional history book which normally sells for $14.55. Twitter user Merralin noticed yesterday that you can now rent the ebook from Amazon in the usual 30/60/90/120 segments, with prices ranging from $8.02 to $12.77. That’s in keeping with Amazon’s other textbook rental prices, so this doesn’t appear to be an accident.

But I’m reserving judgement at the moment. This title looks like this is a book a professor would assign. In fact, I can think of at least 1 history professor who would have assigned this book in class. Also, it was published in paper by Routledge as the “New Educational” edition, which makes it sound like a textbook.

I also did some digging, and I cannot find any non-textbook available for rent via the Kindle Store. This wasn’t easy to confirm, so I fell back on the tried and true complex Google Search. I’ve scanned the first 5 or so pages of results and all seem to be textbooks.

So this is probably a false alarm. And that’s a good thing, because the rental prices aren’t a good value. If you’re planning to sell a book, you’re much better off buying  a title in paper. You can get half or more of the cover price back on a textbook, and that’s a far better deal than the 15% to %30 a rental will save.

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