Amazon.com Inc. is talking with book publishers about launching a Netflix Inc.-like service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, according to people familiar with the matter.
It’s unclear how much traction the proposal has, the people said. Several publishing executives said they aren’t enthusiastic about the idea because they believe it could lower the value of books and because it could strain their relationships with other retailers that sell their books, they said.
Amazon has told publishers it is considering creating a digital-book library featuring older titles, people familiar with the talks said. The content would be available to customers of Amazon Prime, who currently pay the retailer $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping and for access to a digital library of movies and TV shows.
Amazon would offer book publishers a substantial fee for participating in the program, people familiar with the proposal said. Some of these people said that Amazon would limit the amount of books that Amazon Prime customers could read for free every month.
It is unclear whether any publishers have signed on. Publishing executives would rather have people buy their books, and they are concerned that participating in the program could create the impression among consumers that books have little inherent real value. “What it would do is downgrade the value of the book business,” said one publishing executive.
I guess I need to buy a Kindle, something I’ve tried to avoid. I used to have an iPad and I had the Kindle app on it, but I stopped using the damn thing and sold it. The iPhone basically does the same thing. Believe it or not, I prefer traditional books; though I can’t explain why. But this service does actually sound more up my alley since I don’t usually pick up a book again after reading it.