The Wall Street Journal indicated last Monday that Amazon is planning to launch a service that would offer customers access to a library of books for a fixed monthly fee.
Peter Kafka, from AllTHingsD, says that Amazon is reportedly in talks with publishers about the service, but it’s unclear how far the project has progressed, as some publishers aren’t too happy with the idea.
The details about the project are still meager, but it seems that the library would contain primarily older works and apply restrictions on how many books a user can access each month. Accessible products would contain videos as well as ebooks. The service would also be available to subscribers of Amazon Prime, a membership program that gives users free shipping and access to movies and TV shows for $79 per year.
Waterstone To Challenge Kindle e-Readers
In a bid to compete with Amazon’s Kindle, Waterstone intends to launch a digital e-reader next year.
James Daunt, Waterstone managing director, told Radio 4’s You and Yours that he had been inspired by Barnes & Noble’s successful Nook device. As Amazon customers now buy more Kindle titles than paper versions, Barnes & Nobles’ Nook is an important factor in growing sales figures for B&N, Waterstone will join the few high street retailers to have challenged Amazon’s growing dominance in both physical and electronic sales.
Though Amazon does not provide a detailed breakdown of e-book sales and has never revealed the number of Kindle devices sold, Mr Daunt believes that Barnes and Noble, who predicted last month that it would sell around $1.8bn (£1.1bn) in Nook e-books by the end of the financial year, has managed to claw back market share from its online rival by linking the electronic product with its high street bookstores.
In order to bring customers to their stores, B&N allows Nook owners are allowed to read for free in their stores for up to one hour each day.
According to Mr Daunt, Waterstone’s e-reader project is “well down the planning line”, and will launch in spring 2012.
Starbuck ‘Pick of the Week’ Glitch
For several years, Starbucks and Apple have offered a “Song Pick of the Week” program. The program offered a free select iTunes music track that was downloadable by any Starbucks customer.
This week, Starbuck added e-books to that program. However, to the users’ disappointment, their first ebook, Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”, was actually a sample. A large sample, since it consisted of 330 pages out of 400, but a sample nevertheless as to access the last 70 pages, users were redirected to a link enabling them to purchase the book.
Their disappointment stems from the misleading offer on the card that fails to mention that the book is only an extended sample. The card shows an image of the book with the text “Free with the code on back.” The text on the back of the card relates only to the offer expiration date and to instructions as how to download the book.