Last night, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon.com Inc. is in talks with several publishers about launching a subscription service for the Amazon Kindle line of e-book readers. The service would charge users a monthly fee to access a digital library of e-books, similar to Netflix’s current video-streaming library.
This would prove to be great news for those Kindle users who finds themselves consuming books at a rate that might cause purchasing a la carte to become cost prohibitive. Unfortunately, there will almost certainly be a limit on the number of newly published books made available through the service. Most publishers, despite earning a “substantial fee” for their participation, will want to maintain a period of exclusivity after publication to sell as many copies of a book as possible before handing it over to subscribers. An issue which has caused contention with other subscription services, most notably Netflix, for some time.
However, if access to new releases is not a primary concern, readers could greatly benefit from the ability to access a large collection of digital books without having to commit to purchasing each title individually.
As with Amazon’s own recently launched video-streaming service, it could be expected that the e-book library would be tied to Amazon Prime, whose $79/year subscription also includes free two day shipping with no minimum purchase amount.