Amazon sneak peek

By Jerome Stuart Nichols | Life Editor
Added September 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com might be prepping an eBook rental service.

Most avid Amazon.com shoppers are aware of their Prime service. It is a premium service whose main benefits are free two-day shipping and discounted expedited shipping on thousands of items sold in their online store.

In the past few years, Amazon added quite a few features to make its $79-per-year service much more enticing. These add-ons include video streaming as well as sporadic coupons and discounts. This eBook rental service, which has been dubbed Amazon Kindle Library, would be another free add-on.

The idea is customers would pay their annual fee and get access to all of the streaming and rental content.

This sort of tactic is from the Amazon ‘business 101’ textbook. Amazon has a long history of offering items for free or at a loss as a way to increase the likelihood of a customer returning to the site. The tactic must be working, as Amazon is the most popular and profitable online retailer by a large margin.

This report comes just days after a flurry of rumors about the “Kindle Tab,” the long-rumored Amazon-produced tablet.

The tablet is said to be running Google’s Android operating system version 3.4, which is codenamed “Ice Cream Sandwich.” Reports say the tablet would be focused on promoting Amazon’s media rental and purchase services as well as their new Cloud music service.

While this idea would be great for consumers, there are serious concerns about the success of this product. Historically, eBook publishers have been hesitant to allow eBook retailers the sort of freedom Amazon is asking for.

Last year, we saw a public battle to keep eBook pricing out of the hands of retailers. Retailers eventually lost the battle when publishers began to remove their books from the respective stores. There was also a big controversy over the text-to-speech feature of their flagship eBook reader Amazon Kindle 2.

Through this controversy, Amazon has found a way to make one of the most compelling online media offerings. It will be interesting to see if this service ever comes to light and be a success.

Jerome Stuart NicholsComment