Discussion: A Netflix type service for books?

A little while ago, this article (which is very short, so feel free to read it) was sent to me. I thought the idea was really interesting. While the idea of a “Netflix for books” on Amazon does seem like speculation right now, it might just be a matter of time until someone big grabs it and runs with it. Basically, an individual would pay a fee to have unlimited access to a ton of books. If the person running with that idea was Amazon and Kindle, the impact it might have on those of us who use digital reading devices might be rather profound. Then again, it might not. 
What do you think of this idea of a “Netflix for books”? Do you think, if Amazon did do something like this, it would effect the book world dramatically? Would you use that service? Any other thoughts? 

4 Responses

  • Jamie (Mithril Wisdom)

    It's an intriguing concept, but I'd still prefer heading down to my library for that kind of thing (and it's free too). Though I love my Kindle, I'm still a little cautious about it taking over too much in the reading world.

  • Weirdmage

    I don't think it is feasible with books from publishers. Amazon would not be willing to price a service like that high enough to give publishers and authors the amount of money they would need to agree to it.

    What I could see Amazon doing is making a "Netflix-service" part of their Kindle DTP agreement. Of course that would mean that agreement becomes even worse for authors (, I have read it, it really is a crap agreement). But I don't expect that to actually matter much to those that see Amazon as a friend of authors.

    Another point of course, is that Amazon already has way to much power when it comes to books. They are already bookstore and publisher, and now they want to be a library too. If more than one company had done what Amazon does, anti-trust laws would have stopped them.

    I think it's quite clear that Amazon wants to be the only place you can get books. Something that is actually really scary.
    Personally I think we are close to a point where loving books and shopping at Amazon excludes eachother.

  • Bibliotropic

    I'd probably make good use of it, no doubt. That is, once I've gotten through the very large number of books that I've gotten via NetGalley; they're the ones I'm currently reading when I spend quality time with my Kindle at the moment.

    However, I have to admit that I'd like this service better if it came through a library association. I've always liked supporting libraries, as they were the only places I could really get books for a while. As Weirdmage said, Amazon's already got their book monopoly going, for the most part. It'd be nice to see some of the power back in smaller hands again.

    Though I should be fair and point out that my provincial library association does have something like this already, for free. They've got a decent catalogue of e-books that can be downloaded and read if you have a library card. The major downside to them is that those books aren't Kindle-compatible, so I actually haven't had much chance to make use of them. It's actually more inconvenient to do so, because to read them I'd be glued to my laptop screen instead of being able to read them in a more comfortable place, the way I can with hardcopy books and anything on my Kindle. Major drawback. If they'd make their books Kindle-compatible, then I probably wouldn't even look twice at what Amazon's doing.

  • Robin Sullivan

    While I think this would be FANTASTIC for readers, I fear it could have disastrous implications to writers. I'm not sure how they would make any decent money in such an environment and if writer's can't earn…then content could dry up and then it would end up being worse for readers.

    I guess I need to know more about how the writer's would earn money in this kind of environment.

    Robin Sullivan | Write2Publish | Ridan Publishing

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