12 September 2011

Would you use a "Netflix-like" service for ebooks?

Amazon is purportedly working on the design of a book rental program that would function similarly to Netflix's streaming service for films. I have seen nothing that states how soon something could be launched. 
Barnes & Noble NOOK Touch eBook Reader (NEWEST model, WIFI Only)Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Pearl DisplayBarnes & Noble NOOK Color eBook TabletBarnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader (WiFi only) [ Black & White ]

( www.blogs.wsj.com ) Article about proposed ebook rental
( www.techland.time.com ) Article about proposed ebook rental
( www.bgr.com ) Artical about proposed ebook rental

Personally, I figure Amazon will have their work cut out for themselves. A move like this would require getting publishers on board solidly first. If Amazon and Barnes and Noble had their way I believe we'd be seeing lower prices for ebooks in general. I think more books could be sold at less profit per book and the sales produced would result in greater revenue in the end. Allowing the market to determine this sector of business could be a good move for all involved. The publishers want to keep prices high even though they would benefit from an increase in sales with prices set just right.

Read what www.blogs.wsj.com has to say in their third paragraph, click here...

My view of this is that an ebook rental service could work, in theory. Look at the streaming service provided by Netflix. It works. Our family loves it. If we didn't need live sports coverage in this household I would drop cable service without a second thought. When we began using Netflix's streaming service it could be challenging to find something streaming that we really wanted to watch. These days there are new options offered regularly and there is an abundance of choice; our queue is quite long. We can always find something to watch without having to wait three or more days for a new dvd to arrive by mail. 

A streaming ebook service is an intriguing thought. It would seem that it would work similarly to a library service but with a subscription cost and, therefore,  a larger selection from which to choose. I would certainly consider subscribing. 

Our library's ebook-lending service continues to expand their  offerings. Of course all the classics would be available; they're available all over already. What a service, such as that proposed, would have to offer is much greater selection than classics and books with a lower retail price. Offering popular titles that are rising in the charts would sway many people to subscribe to an ebook streaming service.

This year I've made a great effort to read books that I can read for free as downloads of classics or by using our library's ebook service. So far I think I've only purchased one or two books, and those, I believe, were so that I could read them at the same time as our kids who were reading them in traditional book form.                                                                                              

I sat down a couple days ago to see what books I would want to buy if I decided to buy everything that is at the top of my ebook wish list. What kind of total did I come up with? $425. That would purchase all the books on my wish list that I think I really want to read at this moment. How many books? 42. That's an average of just over $10 per title. That's a lot of money. 

I have considered only asking for gift cards for Christmas so that whenever the urge strikes me next year I can purchase an ebook... I would not purchase all the books that are currently on my list a I am wise enough to realize my list may change. If an ebook rental service became available and many of the books from my wish list were available it would seem that subscribing would be a good investment for me. I really don't hold out a lot of hope that many of the books I want to read would end up being available though... 

For this topic time will only tell. Ebooks are the way of the future. They are convenient, versatile, and good for the environment. How quickly the industry continues to grow will be determined by the areas of law related to: the pricing of the books, the ownership of purchased digital titles, the ownership of notes taken by the reader of an ebook, the availability of ebooks through libraries or subscription services, the price of ereaders, etc.

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