Earlier today the ebook lending site Lendle shut down their site, claiming in a tweet that:
Amazon has revoked Lendle’s API access. This is why the site is down. It’s sad and unfortunate that Amazon is shutting down Lending sites.
In a later tweet:
According to Amazon, Lendle does not “serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.”
Something doesn’t add up here.
I know I’m a few hours behind everyone else on this story, but I was waiting on a response from other ebook lending sites. Yes, there are 7 or so other sites that lend ebooks. I wanted to see if Amazon went after all of them or just Lendle.
I’ve heard back from 4 sites and they are all up and running. The responses ranged from mildly concerned to panicked, naturally. But they haven’t heard anything from Amazon. Speaking of which, my source Amazon didn’t respond to my email (thanks, Kinley, for ignoring me).
So let’s move past the fact that this has happened and start trying to figure out why. Something doesn’t add up here.
All of these sites do the same thing, and all of them benefit Amazon by building value into Kindle ebooks. And yet Amazon only went after the 1 site (so far). Something must set Lendle apart from the other lending sites. What?
It could be an accident or mistake on the part of Amazon, for starters. But we won’t know until Amazon unbans Lendle, so let’s set this one aside. This site could be the most successful, but I don’t see why that’s relevant.
My best guess is that Lendle did something to piss off Amazon. Perhaps Lendle used the API in some way that violated the TaC. We won’t know until Amazon responds.
Of course, there’s a chance that Amazon is going after all the lending sites, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. And I don’t see why they would. It’s a lose-lose situation for Amazon. Customers lose a feature and everyone gets angry at Amazon.