On CNET, via slashdot: Lendle, a Web site that had helped facilitate the loaning of ebooks among Kindle users, was effectively destroyed when Amazon shut down Lendle’s access to its Kindle API.
Lendle first reported the news via Twitter: “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…According to Amazon, Lendle does not ‘serve the principal purpose of driving sales of products and services on the Amazon site.’”
According to Lendle co-founder Jeff Croft, “at least two other Kindle lending services” have been terminated from the API.
The problem with Lendle and its cousins is simple: It was too good at what it did.
Amazon does allow one-time loans of an ebook for up to 14 days, but they expect such trading to be among intimates. Lendle greatly expanded the ability for one person to trade with a complete stranger, and as a result posed a serious threat to potential Kindle edition sales.
After all, if I can’t find someone to lend me an ebook, I probably have to buy it. Put me in big enough a room of Kindle owners, however, and I’m likely to find what I am after for free.
I don’t care to get into copyright, the nature of modern publishing, or the like. I’m far more interested in pointing out the problem with using third-party APIs that this illustrates: If you make something too good, there’s usually nothing stopping the API service from cutting you off and stealing your work.