Amazon Working On A Netflix-For-Books Service

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Tim Higgins

Amazon is reported to be in talks to launch what some are calling a Netflix-for-Books service.

The first report is attributed to the Wall Street Journal, with a subscription-free story on Engadget.

The gist of the deal is that the service would be bundled into Amazon Prime, which already offers a growing selection of video content included in the $79 yearly fee that originally covered only free two-day shipping.

Publishers are said to not be exactly warm to the idea, for fear of devaluing their products. So the program will initially offer only older books and restrictions on the number of books that would be read per month.

If the service does become real, it would further enhance the value of Amazon’s 7 inch tablet, which will be launching in the next few months. The tablet is reported to be based on a highly-customized Android fork, and aimed primarily at content consumption.

If Amazon can pull this off, it should further hasten the transition from print to eBooks, by lowering one of the barriers to consumption. Many readers are balking at high eBook prices, which have moved even higher in recent months.

As an owner of a new Nook Simple Reader, I’m finding myself reluctant to pay the prices being charged for many books. Everyone’s price point is different, but I’m finding myself browsing the $5-and-under lists in search of interesting reads.

The idea of book rental or subscription services for eReaders is obvious. But as with music and video, the content owners will need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future. Either that or have a big wad o’ cash thrown at them.

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