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Amazon adds Kindle textbook rentals, leaves iBooks in the dust

Amazon announced a new textbook rental service today for its Kindle eBook service. The textbook rental store would let students rent textbooks from 30 to 360 days from the Kindle store. The rental terms could save students up to 80% on the purchase price of the books from publishers such as John Wiley & Sons, Elsevier and Taylor & Francis.

Each book is also "Rent Once, Read Everywhere" so students can read their textbook on a variety of devices. There is support for notes that are stored in the cloud and accessible even after the book rental period has expired.

This new service puts the pressure on Apple if the Cupertino company wants to tap the lucrative educational market. iBooks is Apple's direct competitor to the Kindle and it does not have the wireless notes syncing or the diversity of content available on the Kindle. Now with textbook rental, Apple's iBooks falls even further behind. With iPads increasingly showing up in the classroom, this is a deficiency Apple may be forced to address.