Amazon is reportedly testing a new service that will act somewhat like “Netflix for e-books” – consumers will pay a set amount each month to get unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of various e-books and audio books on demand.
According to reports, the service will be called Kindle Unlimited, cost $10/month, and allow customers access to over 600,000 titles.
Amazon already has a similar service for Prime subscribers who also own a Kindle device – these customers can “borrow” one e-book each month for free as part of their Prime subscription. Others have also tried to be successful with a similar model, including Oyster, which offers access to over 500,000 e-books for $9.95/month.
It’s currently unclear whether current Amazon Prime subscribers would get a price break on the new Kindle Unlimited service, or if this will be viewed as a completely separate service by Amazon. It’s also unknown what kinds of books will be available – it’s possible that current bestsellers and new releases would not be available on the service right away, similar to how Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video act with movies. This might diminish the service’s ultimate value for many consumers, who would otherwise still be forced into buying some individual titles if they are not available in the subscription.
In any case, if this business model will be successful, Amazon is definitely the company to make it happen. It not only has the clout it needs with publishers, but it’s built up a huge number of loyal customers who I’m sure would be very eager to subscribe. Are you on of them?[GigaOm]