retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon has "introduced a digital subscription service that allows subscribers unlimited access to a library e-books and audiobooks for $10 a month. The service, Kindle Unlimited, offers a Netflix-style, all-you-can-read approach to more than 600,000 e-books, including blockbuster series like 'The Hunger Games' and 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid,' nonfiction titles like 'Flash Boys' by Michael Lewis, as well as literary fiction and classics."

There are limits, however. None of the nation's five biggest publishers are participating in the program, almost certainly because of the major debate that Amazon is having with Hachette over costs, which has led the e-tailer to essentially de-list Hachette-published books from the online marketplace often dubbed "the everything store."

According to the story, "In offering the service, Amazon is entering an increasingly crowded marketplace. It will be competing with publishing start-ups offering similar services, like Scribd and Oyster, which charge a comparable subscription fee and have comparable digital libraries.

Scribd has some 400,000 titles and charges subscribers $9 a month. Oyster has more than 500,000 titles available and gives readers unlimited access for $10 a month.

"With similar pricing models, the competition among e-book subscription services could come down to content and what books and authors are included."
KC's View:
I don't blame the big publishers for not playing ball. Right now, they've got to use whatever leverage they have in their battle with Amazon.

I do think that book clubs will be a major market for this concept. There are a ton of books that Mrs. Content Guy reads for three different book clubs that she's in, but that she has no major desire to own. If she could rent them digitally…I think that would be a major attraction for her.