The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is currently talking with a variety of book publishers in hopes of launching an eBook rental service in the same vein as Netflix. While book renting has been around as long as libraries have been, the prevalence of eBooks could, and probably will, permanently change the book rental landscape.
Considering the amount of control publishers have historically had over the publication and distribution of the books in their stables, it’s understandable that they might not be willing to surrender control to Amazon. It doesn’t help that Amazon is looking to distrubute eBooks of all things, a product many publishing companies are still wary of. As such, it’s reported that Amazon is prepared to offer publishers a sizable chunk of change if they agree to get involved in the program.
Amazon has recently been making other forays into the world of digital distribution with the Amazon Prime service which now offers video streaming in addition to the free two-day shipping that serves as its main draw. Amazon Prime streaming hasn’t really seemed to harry Netflix in any significant way, but Netflix was also a juggernaut by the time Amazon Prime brought videos to the fight.
If Amazon does manage to wrangle up enough publishers to start a reasonable eBook rental service, they could very well become the juggernaut in that field. Current eBook rental services have a number of caveats including open-domain books only, limited selection in general, or poor cross-platform capability. That being the case, Amazon is in a prime situation to present what could arguably be the first competent eBook rental service, and from an excellent platform too; Amazon is a name you trust and, moreover, Amazon is a name you trust for books.
(via The Next Web)