iPad, Kindle, and an Idea for Amazon

azA lot of people are writing their opinions on the effect the iPad will have on Amazon’s Kindle sales, and their ideas of Amazon should be doing in light of last week’s Apple announcement. Here’s mine:

Turn their eBook collection into an online, cloud-based lending library.

What I mean by this is to offer a service like the one LaLa now has, where I can buy songs for 1/10 of what I’d pay for the downloadable mp3, but I can’t download the songs. I can, however, listen to them any time I want – I “own” the listening rights, but the songs stay online.

If Amazon could do this for books – charge me something like US$1.00 per book, but only let me read the cloud’s version (or maybe download it to a device for a limited time – I’ll let them work out the details), I’d buy a Kindle right now, just for that.

Apple, of course, could do the same thing, and maybe they will. They’ve bought LaLa, after all, though it’s still not clear what they intend to do with it. But they’ve probably got their hands a little full right now.

Why I think this would be a great idea for anyone to do – it’s conceptually no different from a regular, brick and mortar library. There are a lot of people who read a lot, but don’t buy many books. I know; I’m one of them. I go through a lot of books, and I’m completely spoiled by the fact that I can borrow almost anything I want. I’m not going to give that up just for the convenience of eBooks. I read less than I used to, but I still go through 2 or 3 books a week. I’m not willing to pay $10.00 or so for each one.

But if I could “borrow” a book for $1.00 – especially with the Kindle’s existing ability to let me try out the first chapter before I make up my mind – that’s a no-brainer. And not only would it be exactly what I want, Amazon and the publishers would do great on it too. I can easily see people like me spending $150 or so a year on a service like that, plus of course the cost of the Kindles.

How about it, Amazon?

4 thoughts on “iPad, Kindle, and an Idea for Amazon

  1. mattbg

    This is a great idea.

    And it’s only fair. Because my local public library has been renting DVDs by the bucketload and has recently started lending video games, too. They are competing with private businesses using public tax money while neglecting their book collections. I have to buy most of the books I want — even many bestsellers — to read because the library doesn’t get them.

    So, if I could borrow the books I actually want to read, I would pay for it. Digital formats eliminate the biggest hurdle, which would be the shipping costs.

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