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Old 09-11-2011, 07:43 PM   #1
stonetools
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Amazon in talks to launch digital book library -WSJ

Heh, I called this a while ago:

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NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc is in talks with book publishers about launching a media library service similar to Netflix Inc for tablets and other digital books, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. Seattle-based Amazon, which makes the popular Kindle electronic reader, is also expected to release a tablet to rival Apple Inc's iPad in coming weeks, the Journal reported. Under the proposal for a digital media library, customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. It is unclear how much traction the talks have received, the Journal reported, citing the people familiar with the matter. Several unnamed publishing executives said they are not enthusiastic about the idea because it could lower the value of books and could strain their relationships with other retailers that sell their books, the newspaper reported.
LINK

The reason why I am tooting my horn a little on this is that I was excoriated when I suggested that this would be a possible business model back HERE.

I was told that this would NEVER work, because people would never "rent" books, which were special in a way that movies are not, etc. I even called which company would do it first:

Quote:
I think that the publishers and booksellers will most likely offer a cloud subscription model, alongside the present model and I think it might even become the dominant model. People will continue to "purchase" downloadable copies, of course, but only for special books that they want to reread. These may or may not be DRMED, but they will be a small minority of the ebooks read.
I predict that Google or Amazon will do it first, but Apple might surprise everyone.
OK, enough shameless self-congratulation . It still may not happen, because some publishers are not on board. These publishers don't trust Amazon to "protect" the value of their books (where have we heard that?).
I am also now inclined to think that the Kindle Cloud Reader was in the works even before Apple's change in policy re in-app purchasing. What do you all think?
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Old 09-11-2011, 07:52 PM   #2
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I was told that this would NEVER work, because people would never "rent" books, which were special in a way that movies are not, etc. I even called which company would do it first:
Don't know why anyone would have a problem with it, because renting books is no different than renting movies; something people do all the time.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:16 PM   #3
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Don't know why anyone would have a problem with it, because renting books is no different than renting movies; something people do all the time.
I don't see the difference between renting book and borrowing from the library...except the latter is free
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:23 PM   #4
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I don't see the difference between renting book and borrowing from the library...except the latter is free
Not quite free. Property taxes generally pay for library books.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:30 PM   #5
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I wonder what the annual cost would be? Fast readers may benefit greatly.
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Old 09-11-2011, 08:39 PM   #6
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I don't think the publishers would ever agree to this, unless piracy got so bad they would essentially go along with it for the same reason the networks went with Hulu. Possibly this may happen when e-readers get to be around $50.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boston View Post
I don't see the difference between renting book and borrowing from the library...except the latter is free
Well, you would be renting, not from your limited public library catolog but from possibly the entire Amazon catalog-HUGE difference.

You borrow DVDS from the library too- but that hasn't stopped the blossoming of a vibrant movie rental/streaming business.

Amazon could certainly build a business based on the convenience of renting a wide variety of books for download with the click of a mouse.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charmian View Post
I don't think the publishers would ever agree to this, unless piracy got so bad they would essentially go along with it for the same reason the networks went with Hulu. Possibly this may happen when e-readers get to be around $50.
I don't see the cost of e-readers as a barrier. After all, you have to buy a TV and DVD player or set-top box/computer to rent/stream movies. They cost a lot more than e-readers.

As to the publishers agreeing with this, movie producers and record companies raised the same objections vs renting/streaming music and movies, but those objections were overcome. I expect the publishers to come around eventually.

Last edited by stonetools; 09-12-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
I wonder what the annual cost would be? Fast readers may benefit greatly.
It kind of would be based on what the model would be. Let's look at the movie cycle. THe cycle is as follows: movies are released into the cinemas. If successful, after six months, they are availabe, first on DVD. After a year, they are on cable, then maybe after 2 years, they are available for streaming on Netflix.

Now with ebooks, the cycle is that the major publishers offer ebooks at around 50 per cent of the hardcover
price (12.99-14.99), then when it goes to paperback, the price goes to 7.99-9.99
A possible model is this:

YEAR ONE - Download and purchase option only -12.99-14.99
YEAR TWO- Purchase option-9.99 but also an option to rent-2.99-3.99 for three weeks (like the library).
YEAR THREE- The YEAR TWO options ,but with the additional option that the book may be part of a subscription pool that you can access if you sign up to pay X dollars a month for 12 months.
A big question would be how many ebooks you would be allowed to stream. There may be tiered pricing, based on whether you can access one book per week, two books per week, etc. (Netflix has tiered pricing in its DVD plans).
Another big question would be the quality and depth of the subscription pool. It wouldn't include the latest and the greatest, and it is likely that the publishers would allow only the books that are on deep backlist into such a pool. With Netflix, streaming only subscribers get only part of the Netflix catalog. They complain a lot about that, but they continue to subscribe because of the convenience of having instant access to even a limited number of movies and TV shows. More discussion on subscription options HERE
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:42 AM   #10
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I hate the cloud idea because it requires doing everything through the browser and having an active internet connection. I refuse to read inside a web browser, and I'm often outside of internet reach. If Amazon sends the whole file directly to my Kindle so I can read it when and where I please, internet connection or not, then I'd consider renting. But to read something off the cloud? Absolutely not.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:44 AM   #11
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I also don't see the eReader cost as a big barrier. However, I do wonder how it would be priced.

Music is available from £5-10 p/m with unlimited plans (spotify) whilst netflix offers similar for movies (not sure of exact plans as I don't have it) which equates roughly to the cost of a single new DVD/Bluray or Album.

Would publishers agree to a subscription cost of £5-10? Roughly the cost of one new book per month? If they did, I'd be surprised if it was unlimited plan (which spotify is, not sure about netflix?) but more likely a low limit such as 4-5 books per month.

If you compare books to music/movies, I'd assume it's common for people to watch a few films a week (maybe one a night). The cost to buy that film would have been £5-15 depending (comparable to book prices) so within a few days you've covered the subscription cost and every film beyond that is a saving vs purchase.

I just can't see them allowing you to do the same unlimited plan with books, let alone the effectively unlimited plan of one book per day on a subscription of under £10. Four to five books per month, maybe, but I wouldn't find that attractive enough to sign up.

On an unlimited plan I wouldn't feel like only reading 1 or 2 books in a month was a loss since I might make up for it in a future month. Yet with a fixed 4-5 max per month I'd feel like any month I didn't use up the limit was a loss. That's how I treat spotify, some months I'll listen to loads of new artists and albums that could be said to have saved me a fortune vs purchase, yet other months I'll just listen to the same old playlist as previous months. Because the option is there to get my moneys worth though, I don't feel like I need to do so all the time.

Still, no point worrying about pricing and plans until something concrete is actually announced. If they did make it unlimited (or close enough), I'd certainly be interested, even if I tend to only read a few books a month so long as the option was there to read a few books in a couple of days without hitting some arbitrary limit.

Last edited by JoeD; 09-12-2011 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:49 AM   #12
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I hate the cloud idea because it requires doing everything through the browser and having an active internet connection. I refuse to read inside a web browser, and I'm often outside of internet reach. If Amazon sends the whole file directly to my Kindle so I can read it when and where I please, internet connection or not, then I'd consider renting. But to read something off the cloud? Absolutely not.


Total agreement.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:58 AM   #13
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Amazon stock will break 300 within a year imo.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:04 AM   #14
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Do you ever read someone on the internet saying I WAS TOLD OTHERWISE BUT OH LOOK I WAS RIGHT and you remember plenty of polls a few months ago with lots of people saying that they already support such-and-so and they are in favor of it if only the publishers will get their act together and sort out the licensing, and you wonder if you live in an alternate universe from the other person on the internet?

I get that a lot. Off topic, I know.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carld View Post
I hate the cloud idea because it requires doing everything through the browser and having an active internet connection. I refuse to read inside a web browser, and I'm often outside of internet reach. If Amazon sends the whole file directly to my Kindle so I can read it when and where I please, internet connection or not, then I'd consider renting. But to read something off the cloud? Absolutely not.

It could be both.
For movies , there are download/rent options (ITunes) and streaming options (Netflix). Both do quite well.
People who have tested out the Kindle Cloud Reader (as I have) agree that the user experience is acceptable , if not as good as the native app. It also is capable of offline reading , via storage in the browser cache. As the app matures, and as the broadband infrastructure gets built out, the user experience can only get better. Even now, though, plenty of people watch Netflix movies on home wifi and like it. And lots of people have 3G capable reading devices with mostly constant Internet connections.

Last edited by stonetools; 09-12-2011 at 12:06 PM.
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