e-books Stories September 12, 2011

Amazon is in talks with books publishers about a new service that could enable customers to subscribe to Kindle books in bulk for an annual subscription fee, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

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.

However, the deal is anything but certain because print die-hards are not entirely sold on the initiative, fearing the idea might “downgrade” the value of books.

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.

It is also unclear whether enough people would buy into the idea of subscribing to a vast library of digital books. The service would, however, provide value to e-reading aficionados who buy a lot of individual e-books on a regular basis. Of course, if Amazon can work out fair usage terms and keep the prices low, the general public could take the bait, too. If anything, the initiative could be seen as another way to upsell customers to the Amazon Prime subscription package.

That being said, the very idea of subscription-based access to Amazon’s vast books library raises the question whether Amazon is attempting to kill the library per se. It may seem a stretch, but let’s not forget that Kindle books are now outselling hardcover and paperback editions combined. Also, the service could take off if coupled with the forthcoming Amazon tablet, which will probably be the case.

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e-books Stories July 18, 2011

Great news for students from Amazon today. You can now save up to 80 percent off the list price of the print textbook by renting Kindle Textbooks on the Kindle or Kindle-compliant devices such as Windows and OS X PCs, iPads, iPhones and BlackBerry, Android and Windows Phone 7 devices. “Tens of thousands of textbooks” are available for rent across those platforms, reads an Amazon page promoting the deal. You can choose a rental length between 30 and 360 days and extend your rental for as little as one day. What’s best, regardless of your chosen rental period, Amazon will charge you only for the exact time you need a book. From Amazon:

Kindle Textbook Rental is a flexible and affordable way to read textbooks. You can rent for the minimum length, typically 30 days, and save up to 80% off the print list price. If you find you need your textbook longer, you can extend your rental by as little as 1 day as many times as you want and just pay for the added days.

You can tell whether  a Kindle edition is available for rent in the Textbooks Store section of the Kindle app or from the search bar. The ability to rent textbooks in fair terms is good for students, but it ain’t like they were going to keep them anyway.

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Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

e-books Stories May 19, 2011

Online retailer Amazon just announced that Kindle books have surpassed print books in terms of sales. Folks are now buying more Kindle books than their hardcover and paperback counterparts combined. Amazon said that for every 100 print books customers have picked up since April 1, they have sold 105 Kindle books. The figure excludes free Kindle books and includes hardcover and paperback books where there is no Kindle edition. More amazing facts below the fold…

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