by Brent Dirks
July 16, 2014
Amazon is apparently testing out its own e-book subscription service to compete against Oyster and Scribd. The news was first reported by GigaOm. On a number of test pages, which have been mostly pulled down, the service was named Kindle Unlimited. Amazon said for a $9.99 per month subscription fee, users can receive access to more than 600,000 titles. None of the five largest book publishers are participating, according to a quick look at the available titles:
One page, still active at the time of this post and titled “KU Test,” shows 638,416 available titles, and you can browse through them. Among them are many books from Amazon’s publishing imprints, and many books that were already available through Amazon’s Kindle Owners Lending Library, which allows Prime members who own a Kindle to borrow one free ebook per month. That includes the Hunger Games series and the Harry Potter series.Unlike other e-book subscription services, Amazon is also planning to include audiobooks. At least for Prime subscribers, Amazon currently offers both a video and music streaming service. News of the e-book service does come as a bit of a surprise, especially considering recent news. Amazon’s negotiating tactics with book publishers have been called both “increasingly ruthless” and “bullying" by some. I’ve been using Oyster since the start of the year, and have been very impressed. While a similar service from Amazon does sound intriguing, it really hinges on getting publishers on board. For other news today, see: New image of the Touch ID sensor designed for Apple's bigger 'iPhone 6' surfaces, Tim Cook talks IBM partnership in new staff memo, and CarPlay could reach Volkswagen's 2016 VW models, sources claim.
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