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Amazon digital lending service rumoured

Bookseller sets sights on libraries
Mon Sep 12 2011, 09:52

ONLINE BOOKSELLER Amazon is close to launching a digital book lending service in an attempt to mimic public libraries, except not free.

According to the Wall Street Journal the firm is readying the service now with some discussions about its feasibility. If Amazon follows its normal pattern it will launch first in the US, refuse to comment on whether it will launch in the UK, and then launch in the UK.

The WSJ reports that Amazon is in talks about the service, which would see it charge a fee like movie streaming services, and let punters indulge their passions for digital books without actually owning them.

The report adds that some publishers are not keen on the deal as they, quite rightly, believe that it will devalue books even more than they already have been. Amazon has had a fractious relationship with some booksellers, but it dominates the market and now sells more digital books than paperback ones.

Amazon reportedly plans to charge a two year subscription fee and the WSJ has this pegged at around $80, which sounds like a bargain for two years worth of books. Of course it is still a lot more expensive than going to a public library, which is free. µ


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