Amazon wants to add another piece to its subscription pie with an ambitious plan to introduce monthly charging for access to its vast library of eBook titles.
Users of the retailer’s Amazon.com site have reporting noticing the Kindle Unlimited service on the site in recent weeks that would charge customers $9.99 [£5.84] a month to access around 600,000 eBook titles as well as thousands of audiobooks.
One publishing industry expert stated that the sector has been waiting for two shoes to drop and Amazon opening up subscription is one of those.
“One is the Amazon shoe, and the other is the Penguin Random House shoe,” Michael Sharzkin, of publishing consultant Idea Logical, told Businessweek. “Amazon because they have the customers, and Penguin Random House because they have the books.”
Many publishers remain sceptical of the plan as it would mean heavy readers of books spending just $120 [£70] annually, which is less than they would spend by purchasing books one at a time.
On the other side of the coin, there are various people that think the idea is all well and good for some situations but it may not be used frequently enough to succeed as a subscription model.
“I’m not yet convinced. I don’t know very many people who read more than one book a month, so haven’t joined a book subscription service. I do see myself joining a book subscription service for kids apps or books. Sometimes we go through several books a day,” said Miral Sattar, chief executive of Bibliocrunch.
The plan is to launch Kindle Unlimited as a standalone service that won’t be a part of its Prime membership service and this could put off many that are already able to access an eBook borrowing service, which could eventually be scrapped as a result.
If it decides to enter the subscription space there are already two competitors in the shape of Oyster and Scribd with the latter charging a smaller fee of $9 [£5.26] than Amazon’s $9.99 [£5.84] and we now wait to see what Penguin Random House decides to do to combat this.