Amazon has invented a services that is basically a libary, but you pay for it. It’s called Kindle Unlimited. I’m not a fan, but with things changing so fast in publishing, libraries (in the US, but not as quickly in the UK) taking advantage of digital sharing, and self-published novels giving traditional books a run for their money on Amazon, anything coming into the business market should be watched carefully.
Have a read of this article about Kindle Unlimited on Inside Higher Ed by Barbara Fister. It makes some really great points. Such as:
‘Amazon will allow you to borrow as many of a collection of 600,000 books as you like for a mere $120 annually. [But]… Most of the books in Kindle Unlimited are self-published or published through Amazon’s imprints. […]
This is not a plan that the publishers that produce most of our popular books will lovingly embrace. They’re not stupid, either. Though TechCrunch thinks Amazon will triumph because readers will discover new writers and wean themselves from those horrible gatekeepers, I doubt it. Kindle Unlimited, like so many this-will-change-the-world announcements from tech corporations, is lots of huff and puff. It won’t blow our house down. […]
Over at Huffington Post, Dino Grandoni points out that you can borrow e-books from your library, just like from Amazon, without having to put your pants on. He argues that Kindle Unlimited is just “a glorified library card.” I beg to differ. There’s nothing glorified about it. A library card has a lot more going for it.’
As far as I’m concerned, you can get a better deal at a library. They have the books that you actually want to read: the best sellers, classics, award winners. In fact, you can get all the classics and any other out of copyright book for free anyway. The only thing you can’t get at the library is the self-published books. However, a lot of self-published books are running at 99p, or you can catch them on a deal. So, are you going to read over 120 self-published titled in a year. And if you did read that many, how many of those 120 will you have been happy to have read or have actually finished. If you want to save money, you’re better off shoping at second hand book stores, going to the library, and then paying for the self-published books.
Also, I’m now realising I just summaried the Inside Higher Ed article through quotations, but go read it anyway. It’s interesting and something we in the publishing industry will need to keep a weary eye at.