Saturday, August 04, 2012

A few words about Lendink

Recently, a lot of us learned of an ebook-borrowing site called Lendink. What a stir it caused, with twisted knickers everywhere, including my own. All three of my titles were listed as being available on the site. They weren't going to charge for borrowing, so what were they doing? Stealing our work? The site had a hard-to-read FAQ page explaining among other things that they didn't maintain copies of the books or even the covers. All they were doing--or attempting--was to match up owners of books with others who might want to borrow them.

Hmmm. Can you spell trouble? How about L-e-n-d-i-n-k? Amazon has its own policies regarding borrowing, and of course we authors want a say in what happens to our works. It wasn't totally clear to me whether Lendink maintained any connection with Amazon, so I wrote Amazon. Here is their reply dated August 3:


Hello,

We have not authorized lendink.com to loan your book and have not provided your file to them.

If you've found your work available on an unauthorized website such as lendink.com, we suggest contacting that website to confirm your rights and request removal of your work. If you distribute your book through other sales channels, you might contact them to inquire as to whether they have authorized the inclusion of your book on lendink.com.

Our lending program allows a purchaser to lend a title once and does not allow the recipient to re-loan that book. For more information about Kindle book lending, check out this page:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200549320&#loan

I hope this helps. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.








25 comments:

KarenG said...

It still doesn't say anything though, does it? I wonder if this disqualifies a book from being on KDP Select?

andrea said...

Well, Amazon said that they "have not authorized lendink.com to loan your book and have not provided your file to them" and that's absolutely true! Lendink didn't have any files nor did they lend them themselves! It was just a matching website for people who owned books and wanted to lend them once (through the amazon or BN site) to someone who wanted to read them...
I don't get what the kerfuffle was about, this is far from the only website to do this and most of what was said is misinformation...

Bob Sanchez said...

Karen, I don't see how it could disqualify a book from KDP Select, as the books were listed without the author's knowledge or consent. Andrea's point is correct. I think the Lendink website did a poor job of explaining what they were about.

Andrea, kerfuffle is one of my favorite words.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hmm, first time I've heard about this site.

Bob Sanchez said...

Dale Porter, the owner of Lendink, posted the following comment here, but for some odd reason it hasn't displayed on the blog. Luckily, I received an email copy.


Good Morning,

My name is Dale Porter and I am the owner of Lendink (or what's left of it). I can say without hesitation that Lendink was not a pirate site, we did not store, transfer, lend or publish any ebooks, period! All we did was attempt to provide a means for people that enjoy their ebooks to meet other like minded people and share their "lend" enabled ebooks. The lending process was completely handled on the Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites.

Lendink was operated solely by myself and operated the last couple of years with absolutely no income.

There is a lot of misinformation on the internet claiming that we hosted ebooks illegally, that Amazon did not allow us to lend ebooks, etc. Let me try to address some of those here.

Amazon did not allow us to lend ebooks. This is a 100% true statement and the fact of the matter is, Lendink did not nor did it ever attempt to lend ebooks. All we did was put person A in touch with person B and redirected A and B back to Amazon or Barnes and Nobles where the actual lending took place.

Lendink was hosting ebooks illegally. This statement is 100% false. We never hosted any ebooks on our servers. We attempted to dispell this rumor on our FAQ page and for those that actually read the page, it usually cleared up the misunderstanding. For those that did not read the page, all I can assume is that is simply doesn't matter at this point. No amount of explaination would have satisfied the vultures looming over head.

The Lendink website is down, this is proof they were pirating ebooks. Really, this is proof that we were pirating ebooks? The fact of the matter is that our host company was so overwhelmed with hate mail and threats of lawsuits that they felt they had no choice but to suspend the site. These hatefull people did nothing but harass and threaten Lendink and our host company to the point that it just didn't make sense to keep the site online.

Amazon dropped Lendink as an Affiliate due to digital rights violations or new digital rights laws in California. This is 100% false. Lendink is a California based company and as such, was cut off from earning money from sales when Amazon and the State of California disagreed over the collection of State Sales Tax. Amazon cut off all of their California affiliates from earning money via their affiliate program. It was not just Lendink. This only prevented us from earning money via Amazon. It did not however stop use from matching people for book lending.

I am simply a hard working guy that was trying to provide a legit service. Let me ask you all this, if I truley intended to use Lendink as a pirate site would I keep my contact information clearly associated with the site? Would I form an LLC and run the site as a business? Would I actually take the time to file for and receive a Federal Trademark for the site? These are not the actions of a person bent on stealing other persons intellectual property. The site had been negelected the past year or so and this was due to health issues related to my service connected injuries. Working a fulltime job to pay the bills and helath issues just took their toll on me and unfortunately the site suffered. My plan was to ride out the Amazon vs. California Sales Tax dispute and then pick up when I was able to make some income from the sale of books. Sadly, it appears that my American Dream has been left as road kill at the hands of misguided individuals.

Dale

Bob Sanchez said...

Dale, I imagine it must be intensely frustrating for you. It seems to me in retrospect that your concept was fine, but the presentation was lacking. Yes, there was a useful FAQ, but as an old technical writer I know that nobody reads the manual. Unfortunately, humans aren't always willing to look for information that isn't right in front of them, and it's easier to assume the worst.

An eye-catching and informative splash page might have spared you at least some of that abuse.

Thank you for stopping by a giving us that detailed information.

Anonymous said...

@Bob Sanchez,

Yeah, look at how that site was dressed. It was just asking for it.

Way to blame the victim.

Anonymous said...

Dear "old technical writer":
I read the FAQ, as well as a whole lot of other information on this pirating site prior to filing complaints with Amazon KDP, B&N, law enforcement, and the FBI. I don't care what the person who purports to be Dale says; this site was actively engaged in illegal activity. Amazon affiliates are not authorized to "match" lenders. Do your homework, "Dale", before you sling BS. Overwhelmed with threats of lawsuits? You bet your furry. I also went to their Facebook site and saw the multiple "you do not have my permission; please remove my book" messages, at least one of which said "this is my third request" that had been ignored. Blame the victim? The authors whose books were pirated are the victims. Lendink had a great number of my titles available "to lend" without any authorization. Please don't try to tell me they weren't "lending" titles, because the website clearly indicated that that was their whole purpose. And, yes, I have screen shots. Amazon's lending program is very strictly controlled: one lend per purchaser of the title, lent for 14 days, and ONLY through their program. End of discussion. The lendink website further claimed that the book titles were supplied by Amazon and B&N ... an obvious, um, lie? So please, don't expect those authors/publishers who were stolen from to have one jot of sympathy for you, "Dale". You tried to hide in plain sight, and it bit you in the ass, which is nothing less than you deserved .. actually, it's a lot less than you deserved. Who knows how much money you've deprived authors of? Being shut down was a gift. Enjoy it. It's a whole lot easier than federal prison. And don't rear your thieving head again if you've got even half a brain cell that works. Because I'm guessing there are a whole lot of people besides me who are going to be watching for you ....

Anonymous said...

The owner of the site has an explanation, with a short interview, on Digital Media Machine:
http://www.digitalmediamachine.com/2012/08/what-happened-to-lendink-owner-explains.html

It was a completely legit site. Were I one of the authors that sent a complaint, I would write his webhost immediately with a retraction.

Maryann Miller said...

Reading the message from Dale and they the response from anonymous, it appears that his is a he-said she-said type of situation. Being somewhat of a neophyte when it comes to all things technical, I did not understand the wordage in the FAQs on the Lendink page, so I was relying on other more tech savvy authors to give me the inside story. I am still confused, but staying out of the fray.

Anonymous said...

Instead of jumping to conclusions, I simply contacted my publisher, who sent this email out to all its authors. In the future I hope that authors do a little more research, contact their publishers (if they have one) or contact the site directly through email instead of lashing out publicly. Congrats! You've just ruined a legitimate business and missed out on a free promotional tool.



Unless you opt out, anyone who buys your book can lend the book to another Kindle owner. There is a limited length of time (I think it's 14 days), and the person who buys the book can only do this one time. During the time the book is lent out, the original owner can't read it (just like a paper book.) I imagine this feature was designed to allow people to share books (one time) with friends or family members.

This site, and possibly others like it, are set up to put people in contact with one another. A person who wants to borrow a book is put in touch with a person who is willing to lend it. So instead of using your one lend to let your spouse read the book, you share the book with a total stranger.

I strongly suspect that there are very few actual loans that result from this system. Instead, while you are waiting for some stranger to make the book available to you, you finally relent and decide to buy the book.

This site has a handy link, and if you click on "buy this book", you are directed to Amazon. The owner of the website makes a small commission (about 6%) on the sale.

In short, there is nothing nefarious about it. You get paid for every sale, the same as any other sale. In the unlikely event that two strangers are put in contact, then you would get nothing from that. If that troubles you, you can opt your book out of the lending program, so that the buyer can't lend it to anyone. I believe you need to take the 35% royalty in order to opt out.

The only way that site makes any money is if someone _buys_ your book _from Amazon_. They don't make any money on the loans. In short, their interests coincide with yours. It seems like a good idea.

Little Pickle Press said...

Thanks for illuminating us, Bob!

Dani said...

My big issue with LendInk is that it was not set up with a clear opt-out policy, much less a more honorable opt-in arrangement. I don't like sites where advertising is out of my control, and that doesn't match the book content. Too easy for children's books to be paired with adult material, and the author has no control over that. When you don't make a kerfuffle over these kinds of issues, they progressively get more out-of-hand, it's as simple as that.

Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks for getting the lowdown, Bob!

Morgan Mandel
http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com

Tim Geigner said...

Dani, the opt-in was in your PUBLISHING CONTRACT. If you cannot be bothered to read it, that's your own problem. Lending is allowed, assuming your book could actually be lent through Lendink. If you didn't agree to lending in your contract, the "lend" button on Lendink would be grayed out and there would only be a link to BUY YOUR WORK legitimately.

Dear lord, are you people nuts?

A.B. Dada said...

I'm keeping a list of all the authors who have taken the time to harass LendInk.

If you have any links to tweets or blog posts or the like, kindly provide them for a history archive.

http://www.2abd.com/politics/copyright/lendink-taken-down-by-asshole-indie-authors/

Anonymous said...

People rarely read Terms and conditions. If that person is simply consuming product, the consequences are hardly ever noticed. For producers, the opposite can be true, and consequences become quickly evident. These events remind me that one must carefully read and attempt to understand the online contracts one agrees to. And if one can't comprehend the often complicated terms, that they obtain sensible advise regarding their legal position.

This site complied with the authors own explicit contract. This is a display of hysteria indeed.

Stephen Tremp said...

I went to the Website to see if my books are there and the site states the domain has been suspended.

I'll try it from my PC when I get home and see if I can pull up the site.

Anonymous said...

I am very glad that nobody is trying to invent public libraries

Elizabeth Lang said...

I am sorry that it turned out this way if it was a legitimate site. And I am sorry that there was hate mail, which is completely uncalled for regardless of whether it was legit or not. Grow up people.

I'm an analyst and I read the site policy in detail, line-by-line and I am not sorry at all for misinterpreting something that was so confusingly and contradictorily written that it lent itself to misinterpretation. Next time, explain yourself better and with verification from the sites that you are 'providing' this service through; something you must have known would cause you trouble if you gave it half a thought and should have protected yourself against. Having Amazon not exactly endorse your service as legit does not inspire confidence.

Still, I am sorry it had to happen this way, if it truly was a legit service.

Dani said...

I make no agreements with LendInk ever. Period. I think the authors who think the more advertising the better are giving away a lot of power to unknown entities. Not a good way to do business.

Anonymous said...

Dani

You made an agreement with Amazon. You told Amazon - sell my book for me. Amazon than advertises your book for you. How they go about doing that you have no control over. What went on between Amazon and Lendink is none of your business. Lendink was operating under the rules set down by Amazon. Amazon setup the affiliate programs to help advertise Items listed on Amazon for sale.
If you do not like this take your book off of Amazon

As Tim Geigner said...Dear lord, are you people nuts?

Anonymous said...

Some people are obviously unable to understand English sentences that exceed a certain amount of words. So I´m gonna keep it simple for you. Author does not read contract with Amazon and B&N. Author mistakes TOS for FAQ. Author thinks TOS is talking about his work. Is not. Author goes nuts. Author harasses innocent veteran. Author harasses Veteran´s hoster. Hoster annoyed. Site broken. Author looks like bully. Author is bully because author is stupid. And stupid people break things. So author should read Letter from publisher above. Because reading makes stupid go away.

Anonymous said...

Instead of jumping to conclusions, I simply contacted my publisher, who sent this email out to all its authors. In the future I hope that authors do a little more research, contact their publishers (if they have one) or contact the site directly through email instead of lashing out publicly. Congrats! You've just ruined a legitimate business and missed out on a free promotional tool.



Unless you opt out, anyone who buys your book can lend the book to another Kindle owner. There is a limited length of time (I think it's 14 days), and the person who buys the book can only do this one time. During the time the book is lent out, the original owner can't read it (just like a paper book.) I imagine this feature was designed to allow people to share books (one time) with friends or family members.

This site, and possibly others like it, are set up to put people in contact with one another. A person who wants to borrow a book is put in touch with a person who is willing to lend it. So instead of using your one lend to let your spouse read the book, you share the book with a total stranger.

I strongly suspect that there are very few actual loans that result from this system. Instead, while you are waiting for some stranger to make the book available to you, you finally relent and decide to buy the book.

This site has a handy link, and if you click on "buy this book", you are directed to Amazon. The owner of the website makes a small commission (about 6%) on the sale.

In short, there is nothing nefarious about it. You get paid for every sale, the same as any other sale. In the unlikely event that two strangers are put in contact, then you would get nothing from that. If that troubles you, you can opt your book out of the lending program, so that the buyer can't lend it to anyone. I believe you need to take the 35% royalty in order to opt out.

The only way that site makes any money is if someone _buys_ your book _from Amazon_. They don't make any money on the loans. In short, their interests coincide with yours. It seems like a good idea.

Hunterevgw said...

Dale, I imagine it must be intensely frustrating for you. It seems to me in retrospect that your concept was fine, but the presentation was lacking. Yes, there was a useful FAQ, but as an old technical writer I know that nobody reads the manual. Unfortunately, humans aren't always willing to look for information that isn't right in front of them, and it's easier to assume the worst. An eye-catching and informative splash page might have spared you at least some of that abuse. Thank you for stopping by a giving us that detailed information.