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.



Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Blaser2 December, 2011

    It’s interesting to see more and more places offering the option to rent textbooks. Definitely can be good for students, however.

  2. […] might just think this title is a textbook… it’s happened before. but it’d be nice if you really could rent fiction titles. Maybe someone at Amazon (and at […]


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