Reports have been surfacing, rooting from the Wall Street Journal, that Amazon is considering a Netflix-like service that would allow users to pay an annual fee to get book “rentals.” Apparently, the company has reached out to book publishers already but business professionals are still up in the air as to whether the rental idea will become mainstream. Interestingly enough, publishers are a bit worried as the number of consumers buying digital books will decrease if the charge to rent will be dramatically reduced.
Sources say that Amazon has told book publishers that it’s creating a digital library of older books that would be available to customers of Amazon Prime, a premium membership service that quickly expedites the shipping of movies and TV shows. With the popularity of Amazon’s Kindle, the Prime service would directly correlate with the presumed rental service making for a digital book service beyond effortless for readers who don’t want to purchase their own.
There is also chatter that Amazon plans to release its own tablet computer so a built-in book rental service would become imperative to keep the company ahead of its competitors. The tablet should become available in the next few weeks and could become a front runner behind the iPad, especially among those who prefer Google’s Android operating systems instead of Mac OS X.
While the consumer part of the equation seems to be willing to partake in a book rental service, it will be up to publishers as to whether or not this trend catches on.