Even ancient tomes written in the blood of virgins?
It’s being widely rumored that Amazon will be soon launching a digital lending library that’s being called a “Netflix for books”, where for a small monthly fee, you’ll be able to rent as many books as you want for a short period of time. As you can imagine, publishers aren’t too happy to hear about this.
Amazon’s biggest foe is also one of its longest-held: Major book publishers. The two industries have already fought over Amazon’s original e-book pricing model: All e-books offered at $9.99 or less. With a little help from iBooks and Apple’s willingness to inflate e-book price tags, the publishers got their way and the e-book pricing changed.
Then publishers fought with the Kindle’s lending program, which allowed Kindle owners to lend e-books to anyone with an email address for 14 days. Though lending on the Kindle maintained the e-book’s DRM, the two parties made an agreement that publishers would be allowed to designate which books it wanted to be lendable. The result: Not that many are.
Basically, if publishers aren’t happy, the Kindle Lending Library won’t work. Amazon either needs to make it worth a publisher’s while to participate in the Kindle Lending Library (read: throw a lot of cash at them), or it needs to somehow transform the way publishers think about the e-book industry versus that of traditional bound books.
Even if publishers dig their feet in, there’s a huge community of independent authors who have already had success self-publishing ebooks through Amazon, and it’s possible such a service would work if Amazon sells the program to authors directly. It will get their work out in front of a larger audience, especially if major publishers don’t want to play.