Amazon is planning a Netflix-like subscription service for e-books, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal today (available to subscribers only).
Netflix, a movie rental service, currently allows its subscribers to access a library of thousands of movies and TV shows online for a monthly fee.
Amazon, the Seattle-based maker of the Kindle e-reader, already offers streaming access to certain movies and TV shows to paying subscribers of its Amazon Prime service. An article on the website ZDNet speculates that, if a deal can be reached with publishers, that a new e-book subscription service will be offered to Prime subscribers as well.
However, as ZDnet points out, many publishers may not be too excited about the idea. Subscription services currently offer the potential of lower profits to content distributors, which is why movie studies have been involved in a series of increasingly fraught negotiations with Netflix. The report suggests that "there will be release windows" for Amazon's ebook subscription service, which means that, as currently applies to Netflix, several titles will be initially withheld from monthly subscription services, in order to maximize early profits from individual sales.
If today's reports are true, it suggests that the complex relationship between publishers and Amazon could become even more heated. It also shows that the annual service Amazon Prime, originally launched as an unlimited two-day shipping service, is increasingly becoming a core part of Amazon's digital offering.
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