Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Various models of a Netflix style book collection on Amazon

Some news reports have been announcing that Amazon is considering creating a Netflix style program for ebooks.

Amazon eyes Netflix for e-books: A move to get more Prime subscribers


Amazon as a 'Netflix for Books'? How Reading Changes

I wanted to look at some of the options that Amazon could take in regards to creating a Netflix style book collection.

Model 1: Amazon would have a collection of several thousand books. People would pay a separate monthly fee to access this collection. If you pay the fee you have full access to the books in the collection. You could open and read any book in the collection while you are a member.

Model 2: Amazon would have a collection of several thousand books. People would pay a separate monthly fee to access this collection. You could access a selected number of books per month. Number you could access would likely be 2-3 books per month.

Model 3: Same as Model 2 but the 2-3 books you “access” would be yours to read in perpetuity on your Kindle. In Model 2 when you cancel your plan you would no longer have access to the books. In Model 3 the books you select you could continue to read after the plan ends.

Model 4: Amazon users that paid a monthly fee could access any two Kindle books per month including new releases. Example: You pay Amazon $10 per month. A new Kindle ebook is released and it cost $14.99. As a member of the plan you could read this book for no additional cost beyond your monthly subscription fee. Every month you could select any two books to read as part of the plan. Model 4 is different from Model 3 in that you would not be limited from selecting Kindle books from a specific pool but could select any Kindle book. I would assume that there would be some kind of limits. For example textbooks would likely be excluded from this plan.

From some of the news stories I have read it sounds like Amazon is leaning towards Model 2. I am assuming that they are leaning towards this model because it would be less threatening to publishers.

I think that publishers would be fairly safe with Model 1 because you can physically look at only so many books per month. If you did not have access to the collection when you were not a member there would not be a fear about someone getting a 1 month subscription, downloading a thousand books, and then cancelling their subscription. On Netflix if you cancel your subscription you no longer have access to the collection. Models 1 and 2 reflect this Netflix style. (I would argue that Model 1 is closest to what Netflix currently has) Model 3 and 4 would allow having access to the books even after you were not a member. Neither Model 3 nor 4 allow you to download a huge number of books so there is not too much possibility for abuse.


What model would you like to see Amazon adopt?

Have you thought of a model that is not listed?

What impact do you think this will have on publishing, book prices, and libraries?

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