There are a few things I want to discuss today. First is the rumblings in the news about Amazon's Digital Library. Basically if you don't know, its a book version of Netflix. You pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee and you have unlimited access to the library on your Kindle (no print books). It appears that this offering will become part of Amazon's existing Amazon Prime. I have posted my opinion of it on the KDP forums already, but I want to talk briefly about it here as well.
This is a huge step backwards for indie authors, traditionally published authors, the Big 6 and Amazon in my opinion. Amazon has taken the sledge hammer to the traditional publishing world by allowing anyone to publish their work through KDP. Barnes and Noble followed and so did Apple. As much as the Big 6 try to convince us it isn't so; digital publishing is the norm and paper is the exception. Amazon and authors are making big bucks this way. Even the Big 6 are making bank as they transfer back list and out of print titles to the e-format.
The greatest advantage this gives authors is that an eBook is forever. In traditional print, assuming you even got the chance to publish a book, you had 30-60 days to sell and you either made it, or your books were returned or burned to make room for next months new books. If the guy in New York passes on doing a piece about your book because there was a similar one last month, you failed and so did your career. Here comes Amazon and eBooks. Now your book has a shelf to sell from until it takes off. Visit Kindle Boards and other forums and you will see. There are a lot of good books out there that took six months, a year, two years before they found their stride and started selling in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands. Numbers that make people drool and the best part is everyone wins. The readers win because the book costs $2.99 instead of $27.99. The author wins because they get paid $2 instead of $1 and Amazon sits back with arms open arms as the savior of the writing world raking in 30-65% of every sale without having to do a thing other than host a website. Amazon didn't write the book, they didn't edit it, buy a cover, isbn number, market, promote or anything.
Now, Amazon wants to offer books as a rental subscription? Screetch! What! Its like 7:00pm and your stopping the party? The Kindle only came out in 2007. Give it a decade for christ sake. I pray that the Big 6 say no to this and I fear if they don't. Why? Because rental just doesn't work. Look at libraries. They run on donations and government funds. Video rental stores have all gone belly up. This leaves Netflix and Red Box. Only reason Red Box works is there is no overhead, no store, no employees to pay, it's a frigging vending machine! Even Netflix tried to push everything to streaming, and recently they lost the Starz library and raised all their prices. Why? Because $9 a month can't pay anyone for new content. Rental is where things go to die, there is no life left, no money to be made. The end.
I worked for Dell for 8 years and I saw them do some really stupid things to make something look good when it was a bad idea to begin with. There is an Amazon exec who is in charge of Amazon Prime and this is nothing more than a way to boost Prime's numbers so he can look good and make his assigned metric and try and boost sales when they launch their iPad rival. This will cost everyone money. You, me, Amazon and the Big 6. If you want to rent a book. Support your local library and go there. Your tax dollars already pay for this.