eBook Fling lets you swap digital books for free

Amazon Kindle e-book reader
Amazon Kindle e-book readerAmazon / Today

It wasn’t until I reached third grade and got “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” as a present that I became an avid reader. Now a new, free e-book lending service, eBook Fling, may happily and conveniently add to my reading habit.

eBook Fling takes advantage of the fact that you are allowed to lend a copy of your Kindle book or NookBook one time for up to 14 days. The service acts as a matchmaker, putting together people who have books with the people who want them.

Until now, I’ve gotten free e-books from my local library, Project Gutenberg, the Google eBookstore — even Amazon and Barnes & Noble. But the selection is limited and I usually end up buying them. With new releases typically costing between $7.99 and $14.99, it gets to be an expensive habit.

eBook Fling / Today

To borrow a book, you need credits — one per book borrowed. You earn a credit each time you lend a book, or you can buy them (three for $8.99, 10 for $19.99 or 20 for $29.99). Then you can start browsing for books to borrow. For each title, you’ll see the cover art and author, along with a series of buttons: “+Wishlist”, “Borrow Now!”, “Buy” and “My Books.”

When you hit the “Borrow Now” button, eBook Fling contacts the person who owns the book and requests that they lend the book to you. eBook Fling sits in the middle, so the borrower and loaner don’t make contact directly. This ensures everyone’s e-mail addresses remain anonymous and that lending credit is distributed properly.

If the lender accepts your request, eBook Fling sends you a code to borrow the book. In 14 days, the book disappears from your library.

To lend books, you go to the site and list all of your lendable books using eBook Fling’s searchable catalog. Not all publishers let you lend their books, so it’s worth checking to avoid inputting a bunch of un-lendable titles into your lending library.

Amazon / Today

If you have a Nook or the Nook app, your lendable books will have a “lendable” flag on them. For Kindle users, it’s not as easy. The best way to check is by logging into “Your Account” on Amazon.com.  In the “Digital Content” section you’ll see a link to “Manage Your Kindle.” After clicking on it, you’ll scroll down to the “Your Orders” section. Clicking on the “+” next to each title reveals more details, including a “Loan this book” button if the book is lendable.

Ideally, the lending process would work quickly, but it’s all dependent on the lender receiving the e-mail, actually reading it and acting upon it. If the first lender on the list doesn’t respond within a day, an e-mail is sent to the next available lender and so on. If after 7 days there’s no response from any lender, your request is cancelled and you get your credit back.

eBook Fling just launched this week, so the process may take a little longer than it will in the future. I put some requests in yesterday and am still waiting. So whoever is out there holding onto their lendable copy of Iris Johansen’s “Eight Days to Live,” please “fling” it my way.

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