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Amazon To Launch Digital Book Rental Service

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-book-will-self-destruct dept.

Books 112

First time accepted submitter ni5dotcom writes "Amazon is soon going to launch an e-book rental service soon for US customers, according to The Wall Street Journal. Publishers, however, have shown mixed reaction to this decision so far. From the article: 'Amazon is believed to have offered book publishers a large fee for joining the service. However, the negotiations are said to still be in their early stages. The Seattle-based technology company, which is expected to imminently launch a tablet device to rival Apple’s iPad, has also said that the digital ebook library would feature older titles and be accessible to those who pay for $79 a year for Amazon Prime, the service which allows people unlimited two-day shipping and films and TV shows on demand.'"

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Supported devices (1)

CrackerJackz (152930) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376476)

I hope that this service is backwards compatible with their existing Kindle devices, making it Amazon Tablet (aPad?) only is going to anger their existing customer base...

Re:Supported devices (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376500)

And making it Kindle only is going to underline why people shouldn't be buying Kindles in the first place. Not that I'd expect it to make much difference, people who care about that probably bought a Nook or something else that can read epubs.

Re:Supported devices (1)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376630)

hmmm with the easily obtainable f/oss your kindle can read anything.

Re:Supported devices (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376876)

If it's a rental service, why does it matter if it's Kindle only or not? How many eReaders do you have? Are you expecting to share the book with lots of people during the rental period?

At the very least Amazon would have to heavily restrict who they gave access to the rental API. It's not something they can completely open up, otherwise anybody could write a client that doesn't do the self-destruct thing, thereby allowing anyone to just download all the books they want for free, and keep them.

What's news to me here is that Prime members in the US get films and TV on demand with it. I really wish they'd hurry up and bring out a similar service over here. I already have LoveFilm, but if I could get a combination of the two (Amazon have bought LoveFilm after all), that would be great value.

Re:Supported devices (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378274)

Which explains why everybody else adopted epubs? Last time I checked, epub came in both DRM and DRM-free flavors.

The reality is that ebook rentals have been around for some time, although mostly in the form of borrowing from libraries. The main reason this is news is that it's Amazon and they've decided to charge for the privilege.

Re:Supported devices (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378360)

Which explains why everybody else adopted epubs? Last time I checked, epub came in both DRM and DRM-free flavors.

So does .mobi (the format Kindle uses). I bought my first DRM-ed Kindle book by accident recently and was rather annoyed when I discovered I'd done so.

Re:Supported devices (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378964)

I had the same problem the one time I bought from the Kindle store, that was before I got my Nook, but it sucks being stuck either cracking a book that one has paid for or having to buy it again for use on a different device.

My point there was that there's no reason for .mobi to exist at all other than Amazon wanting to prevent people from using their books on other ereaders.

Re:Supported devices (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#37380194)

This makes no sense at all. Amazon lets you read your kindle books in the iPad, the iPhone, Android phones, Android tables (including a rooted nook color), PC's, Mac OS X, all this besides the kindle. If you were stuck with kindles only, I'd agree with you, but pretty much everything BUT other ebook readers work.

Remember that by controlling the platform where you read the books they can also speak for the quality of their service. If only kindles and kindle software reads kindle books, amazon won't get as many complaints about lousy formatting, rendering, pagination or things like that. Android phones actually are a great example of this issue, every single phone can run Android, but the cheap ones provide a really bad user experience. It's not google's or Android's fault, but almost every single costumer of those phones believes they are both to blame (instead of blaming the crappy hardware)

And in the end I believe they used mobi simply because when they were developing the first kindle, ePub still wasn't the standard... And then they had already chosen that format, so they stuck with it. It works well, why fix it?

I wouldn't mind ePub support (trivial thing to add) and a decent PDF engine on my kindle. But, even after using the latest nook, I still think it is the best e-reader on the market.

Re:Supported devices (1)

Nox3173 (1495587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377646)

You can use programs to convert the files to a readable format for the Kindle. I have purchased books from rival services and converted them to my Kindle no problem.

Re:Supported devices (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378206)

Which works fine as long as you don't mind committing a felony or can find them without DRM. Which is sort of the problem. They have apparently folded somewhat on the issue of other retailers selling Kindle compatible books, but the selection is still substantially less than if they'd just go along with the industry standard.

Re:Supported devices (1)

Nox3173 (1495587) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378626)

I'll admit I'm ignorant of the exact law governing on what devices I can view content that I have legally purchased, but I certainly understand your point. Every new invention always seems to lead to an arms race of compatibility (Beta/VHS) (DVD/Blue-Ray) (Epub/Mobi/Kindle/PDF). They leave very few choices for consumers and wonder why we do the things we do. Company sells Item to Consumer that cannot use said Item unless they are standing on their head in a phone both in London during a rain storm. Sounds reasonable to me.

Re:Supported devices (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376594)

Given that their present "Kindle" service is available as a hardware device, an iOS application, an Android application, a WinXP/Vista/7 program, an OSX program, a blackberry application, and a webapp supporting some webkit browsers(I think that there might even have been a WebOS beta at some point...), I'm guessing that Amazon isn't planning on a hardware exclusivity play...

It is conceivable that publisher freak-outery might demand more DRM; but I'd suspect that(just as Netflix recently relaxed from "Select Android devices with special DRM sauce" to "Android, why the fuck would you pirate the shitty stream on your cellphone, not the Blu-ray rips already on bittorrent, anyway?") any publisher who doesn't run screaming at the very thought of this will accept that dedicated cheapskates are probably beyond capture anyway, and it basically comes down to whether they'd prefer a reliable revenue stream from their readers, or a riskier; but potentially larger, one...

Re:Supported devices (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377448)

There was never any DRM secret sauce, for netflix on android. All you had to do was change the build.prop and the old client always worked. If it has used secret drm sauce it should have failed when that software/hardware was not available.

Re:Supported devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37378120)

They never said it was *good* DRM sauce.

Re:Supported devices (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378028)

How could you forget the Kindle app for Windows Phone 7? I'm sure you've deeply offended both of the Windows Phone 7 users.

Re:Supported devices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376884)

Its incompatible with the industry standard called Libraries.

Re:Supported devices? FUD much? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376916)

I hope that this service is backwards compatible with their existing Kindle devices, making it Amazon Tablet (aPad?) only is going to anger their existing customer base...

Would it not? Amazon provides not just the kindle hardware, but also software-base readers for Windows, iOS, Android and BlackBerry that you can register as your own additional devices. Just yesterday I *pushed* all my kindle books to my newly bought Vizio tablet (which is not a top of the line tablet mind you)... all that done from my Amazon Kindle account.

Amazon has been tentatively made several books available for rental, for example, Li & Yao's "Real-Time Concepts for Embedded Systems", for a bit less than half the full price for a 30-day rental. Not bad I'd say (for those with the discipline to go through what's needed off such a book rental in 30 days.) http://www.amazon.com/Real-Time-Concepts-Embedded-Systems-ebook/dp/B003VM7GK6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1315840111&sr=8-1 [amazon.com] So the concept works now in both hardware and software-based Kindle readers using existing Kindle services. Making the concept widespread doesn't alter that, so I don't know what the FUD this is all about.

Digital Book.... renting? (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376480)

It's ironic that as a society we were able to completely eliminate scarcity for things like books, music and movies and then we turned around and tacked on an artificial scarcity model on top of it.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376580)

Scarcity was not viewed as a problem by the people who published books. They are not in business because they want to spread knowledge or enable learning, they are in business to make money. Thus, the elimination of scarcity is actually viewed as a bad thing, and they want to prop up the scarcity with the law.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (4, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376606)

I wasn't aware of the fact that we had eliminated the scarcity of authors who write things we want to read. When did that happen?

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376672)

I wasn't aware of the fact that we had eliminated the scarcity of authors who write things we want to read. When did that happen?

Around the time of the invention of "the blog" and "the google" ?

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (3, Insightful)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376734)

You missed the 'we want to read' part. Further, how are we creating artificial scarcity of blogs and "the google"? The simple fact is, if you are content with the stuff you find on blogs and "the google", you can have as much of that as you want today. There is no scarcity. However, many people want professionally made stuff, and professionals want to be paid, and the 'artificial scarcity' is how we pay them.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376940)

Psst.. you can find all of that professionally made stuff with the google and the bittorrents. Don't tell the man.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377214)

Actually only a fairly small fraction of it. Unless you're willing to put up with badly OCR'd junk with large numbers of errors and paragraph breaks in the wrong place half the time. Or PDFs that are hard to read on your book reader because they don't reflow, so you have to either work with a smaller font than is ideal or constantly scroll around to see stuff.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377352)

True but I would say 99% of the books that have digital copies in any form, are available nearly perfectly in illegal forms, and I have a feeling the books that are available for "rent" will have this fact as equally true. No DRM has ever gone unbroken for long.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377484)

Funny, you must be looking in the wrong places. Most of the ebooks I've seen on IRC come out better than the publishers' own versions. PDFs that actually reflow, epubs that don't have remanents of Word symbols or accidently escaped HTML fragments. Decent spellchecking, even.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37380264)

You really want to aggravate the slashdot horde? Apply that to music, tv and movies.

Some folks will, philosophically, go to the ends of the earth to justify avoiding the pricetag on something.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376862)

I have yet to find an author giving their works away who is in the class of Neal Asher, Alastair Reynolds, Peter F Hamilton, Heinlein, Azimov and my other favourite authors.

And yes, I've trawled through the Baen free library - most of it I didn't finish reading due to the low quality of writing.

"Ability to publish" does not equate to "ability to actually write". Remember that.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376912)

Cory Doctorow [craphound.com] ?

Charles Stross [antipope.org] ?

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376964)

Every Heinlein book I own was free. When he died copyright expired on all his works.
My morality permits me to ignore a law created purely for greed and designed to exploit people.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#37379130)

Isn't Azimov dead? Who is preventing anyone from publishing it? I have e-books from Einstein through the Gutenberg project. Oh wait, copyright. The problem is not the publishers, the problem is the copyright.

Any scientist that unnecessarily restricts education should not be funded by the government imho.

Neil Gaiman (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37379186)

Neil Gaiman has given away for free
        American Gods – PDFs - It was a limited time thing.
        Graveyard Book – YouTube of him reading the entire thing.
OK – this is kind of the expectation proving the rule

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376634)

Artificial scarcity or not, people still like to get paid for work they do.

wanting to get paid for work done? how dare they? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376868)

Artificial scarcity or not, people still like to get paid for work they do.

Stop it. You are making too much sense, which is anathema in /.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376900)

Authors could have lowered piracy by discounting e-book prices. Instead they made e-books cost equal or higher to paperback prices. Result: massive (deserved) piracy.

Now some authors are complaining about e-book sales. So they come up with a new renting model. Except people hate being told they have a limited time to use something. Result: rental unlocking tools.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376948)

Authors could have lowered piracy by discounting e-book prices. Instead they made e-books cost equal or higher to paperback prices. Result: massive (deserved) piracy.

Hint: publishers set prices, not authors. I've read several authors complaining about their publishers setting ebook prices higher than paper book prices and annoying their fans.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377630)

Authors that sign away their pricing ability without negotiating at least a "don't do stupid pricing that sabotages my career" clause don't have a leg to stand on.

While I know that many writers need that advance to smooth their cash flow while writing, they should really think "is 10k now, plus 10% of back catalog sales really better than ramen now and 20-70% of first run sales?"

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377702)

Authors that sign away their pricing ability without negotiating at least a "don't do stupid pricing that sabotages my career" clause don't have a leg to stand on.

Back in the real world, authors who don't sign away their pricing ability are either self-published or working in Walmart. No publisher who plans to stay in business is going to let the author decide the price to charge for their books.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378856)

Most of the e-books I've seen are actually the same price or cheaper than the cheapest available version of the book. (That is, it's at hardback price during the hardback release period and paperback price afterwards.)

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377008)

Many music stores are DRM free nowadays and they still make a bunch of money. People who don't want/can't pay will find other ways to get the content. And they'll have a better product that those who pay for it.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376692)

Just you wait, sonny boy.

Any day now, the Corporate Feudalist/RIAA/Hipster legislative interests are going to ratify the "God Damnit! It just sounds warmer!" Act.

This act will require that all digital storage media Must introduce a small number of unrecoverable bit flips every time they are read in order to recapture America's analog glory days.

And don't even think about employing the Circumventing Rightful Copyright 32 algorithm, or any of the more sophisticated circumvention devices in that vein...

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376714)

Depends on your definition of supply. I would argue that we haven't "eliminated scarcity" since it takes a lot of effort to actually create new books, music and movies. The current economic model requires authors to be monetarily rewarded or they would not be able to create new works. It's a balance between the right to consume culture vs the right to create an artificial scarcity, thereby making a profit from selling your own works, and I'd say 10 years of copyright is somewhat in the middle of that balance. Also I believe all non commercial/non organized transfer of information should be unregulated since the right to communicate heavily outweighs the right to limit communication for commercial purposes, and authors can make money anyway - they do today.

Re:Digital Book.... renting? (1)

skoch (238567) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376938)

That is the whole point of copyright, trademark, and patent laws. These create artificial scarcity, or Government enforced monopolies.

The question remains were is the maximum benefit for society with these laws. Right I think we are much on the side or welfare of existing companies, than on the side of maximum benefit to society.

Kindle Library Lending? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376506)

I'm curious to know what benefits I will receive for $79 a year vs. using the upcoming Kindle Library Lending that will be available for free in a few months. I don't buy that much *stuff* from Amazon, so free two day shipping and rental movies is not much of a benefit.

Re:Kindle Library Lending? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376686)

the library lending will probably have a time limit

Re:Kindle Library Lending? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376980)

the library lending will probably have a time limit

It does in 30-day increments. There are books already there with a rental options (I've been eyeballing this for a few weeks now):

http://www.amazon.com/Real-Time-Concepts-Embedded-Systems-ebook/dp/B003VM7GK6/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1315840111&sr=8-1 [amazon.com]

The interesting this is the pricing scheme for this book (which I assume will be the same for others):

  1. 30-day - $17.24
  2. 60-day - $21.55
  3. 90-day - $25.35
  4. 120-day - $27.46

So, the rental fee decreases over time with an option to buy at any time (and get a price deduction off the purchase price for the rental price paid so far.) Not bad I'd say. This is a model of electronic books I could subscribe to.

120-day $27.46

FTFA: (2)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376508)

One US publishing executive told The Wall Street Journal: “What it [the digital book rental service] would do is downgrade the value of the book business.”

In other news, libraries exist.

Re:FTFA: (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376560)

...and the publishing industry hates them.

Re:FTFA: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376788)

It wouldn't entirely surprise me if the publishing industry recognizes that libraries can serve as a useful promotional instrument and state-supported proxy customer on behalf of those who would otherwise be lousy or nonexistent customers; but they would really flip their shit if libraries became too convenient.

If buying is easier than borrowing, many people will. If the "library" now has the same interface as the bookstore, game over man...

Re:FTFA: (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378302)

...and the publishing industry hates them.

Actually, this is a myth. Public libraries buy lots and lots of books, typically hardcovers. They're already moving into e-book lending. Publishers want e-books to have a limited "shelf life," after which libraries must repurchase them, which a lot of people disagree with. But overall, libraries have done much more good for the publishing industry than bad.

Amazon's strategy? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376818)

The interesting thing about this is that anyone can see book rentals are going to cut into book sales. It's doubtful that people will read more simply because a rental service is available -- for me and most people I know the limiting factors on the amount they read are time, energy, and interest, not the cost of books. Therefore Amazon could be viewed as undercutting its own book-sales business with this service, providing rentals of books to their most active customers who would normally buy them. Why? I can only speculate, but surely this is a bold and disruptive move in the publishing business.

Re:Amazon's strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376962)

On the other side, it may bring in more people who would otherwise not read the book if say the rental cost is low. Compared to impulse purchases, impulse rentals are much more likely since the risks are low for the buyer. This is especially true for lesser known books readers are unsure of. A rental service makes much more sense to a light/casual reader as it allows them to try out various books until they find one they like.

Re:Amazon's strategy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377198)

The interesting thing about this is that anyone can see book rentals are going to cut into book sales. It's doubtful that people will read more simply because a rental service is available -- for me and most people I know the limiting factors on the amount they read are time, energy, and interest, not the cost of books. Therefore Amazon could be viewed as undercutting its own book-sales business with this service, providing rentals of books to their most active customers who would normally buy them. Why? I can only speculate, but surely this is a bold and disruptive move in the publishing business.

You don't know me then. For me, the limiting factors have been storage space and price. It's an exceptional book that for me to have bought it hardbound because I don't want it crowding up the place and I don't care for a premium price. Most of my "dead tree" books are paperbacks.

On the other hand, there have been a few books I've seen lately that I might chance to read on a lending basis that I wouldn't otherwise spring to purchase, even in ebook form. A for-profit lending library would bring the author and publishers a bit of extra income that I wouldn't have sent their way if it actually meant having it permanently cluttering up my online storage space. And, if I do decide I like them enough, I will purchase a copy - or in special cases, even a "dead tree" edition.

There are publishers who want to play Dog in the Manager. It's hard to avoid them, since I shop for authors, not publishers. But I'm far more likely to buy something that's lendable than something that isn't. We share books in this house, no matter what the format.

What REALLY frosts me, however, is that the online lending of the local public library has rarely more than one book per title, even when they'd usually have several in the system in paper format. Which means that almost anything worth reading isn't available, and on top of that, it's only accessible via that abominable Adobe DRM app that requires me to have a Windows PC just to download and install. When my e-reader got wiped, the Adobe system refused to have anything further to do with it, so I uninstalled Adobe and gave up on the whole concept.

As an author of various sorts myself, I can sympathize with the desire to keep things profitable. But I also don't buy stuff from stores that have more security guards in them than cashiers. Be honest with me and I'll be honest with you. Assume I'm guilty until proven innocent and my business goes elsewhere where the people are friendlier.

Re:Amazon's strategy? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378864)

A lot of people read more because libraries exist.

Re:FTFA: (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376896)

One US publishing executive told The Wall Street Journal: “What it [the digital book rental service] would do is downgrade the value of the book business.”

In other news, libraries exist.

Digital ones don't -- at least as far as the majority of books people would want to read are concerned. Overdrive's selection, even for the largest library systems, is awful. Its a small spattering of books people may want to read, and thousands of books you can't give away.

There's still a big gap there. But it seems to me all Amazon is doing is opening their own digital library, just like Overdrive, only having your membership fee pay for it instead of the fees charged to your town or employer.

Re:FTFA: (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378374)

Overdrive's selection, even for the largest library systems, is awful. Its a small spattering of books people may want to read, and thousands of books you can't give away.

This seems like an exaggeration. I've borrowed maybe a dozen books from the Overdrive selection at the San Francisco Public Library. I haven't been reading e-books for all that long. The SFPL seems to have a pretty decent selection, mostly fiction. If anything, the problem is that they don't have enough copies of the books you'd want to read, so you end up having to get on the waiting list. Also, most people don't know how to use the technology, so even if it takes them two days to read the book, they don't know how to "return" it before it automatically expires. In effect, every time someone checks out a book you're going to have to wait three weeks for another chance to get at it.

Re:FTFA: (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378518)

And it requires using crappy Adobe software and logging into some Adobe account. And it tells the people running the service exactly which books you're reading; the local libraries delete all records of physical borrowing after you return it, do the ebook servers do the same?

From what I understand the local libraries also don't support lending of books from some publishers who wanted to make them buy the ebook again after it's been lent a couple of dozen times.

Is there a shortage of bits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376568)

The whole concept is absurd. Renting made sense when the medium was difficult or expensive to duplicate and distribute. Bits are essentially free to duplicate and distribute. It makes no sense at all.

Book of the month club? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376572)

has also said that the digital ebook library would feature older titles

If I wanted an old book, why not download it legally or otherwise? To subscribe I have to play games comparing the average price of a years worth of downloads to the annual price of the service. Also I'd feel locked in to only reading stuff from the paid service to maximize my "profit" rather than reading what I actually want to read.

I'd rather subscribe to a (new) book of the month club. They already have subscription infrastructure, it would all be marketing. Simply offer "Baen New Releases Magazine" for perhaps $5/month and I'm in. More than publishers and marketers, I would like to pay money to subscribe to a favored author, or perhaps a themed trusted editor ("Lovecraftian Subscription", or whatever). Nathan Lowell here's a buck a month, now write me a new book. Or John Ringo or whoever.

Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376574)

Amazon Prime might be worth it if Amazon Video were available on my 360/PS3 (or even on a Roku box). But, AFAIK, it's only available through a browser or Tivo. Does anyone know if they have any plans to bring this to consoles, blu-ray players, etc. like Netflix Streaming?

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376656)

Amazon's video on demand service is available on Roku. Can't speak for 360 or PS3, but I've definitely accessed Amazon Video offerings via Roku.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

dleewo (80434) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376736)

I would like to go on an add that both the free videos available with Amazon Prime and their normal paid videos are available on Roku.

The Amazon Prime videos are in their own section so you can easily see what is available for free.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376674)

I think if you have PlayOn (Windows/Mac) you can use it to stream from Amazon to those devices.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

jomcty (806483) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376710)

The current and previous generation Roku supports Amazon Video streaming...

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376796)

And Samsung TVs. http://www.amazon.com/gp/video/ontv/samsung [amazon.com]

And other devices, I'm sure.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377284)

If it works with Samsung TVs, it ought to work on XBoxes. Samsung TVs use the DLNA protocol for media streaming, which is also supported by both XBox360 and PS3.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377494)

It's an app on the TV, not DLNA or anything. My TV also has a NetFlix app.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

thewickedductaper (1549243) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376970)

The videos can be played on Xbox 360, but they have to be downloaded to your PC first. Instructions for how to do it from amazon.com : http://www.amazon.com/gp/video/ontv/xbox [amazon.com]

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378884)

Last I knew, you couldn't do download-to-PC for free, even if you have Prime -- if you use Prime to get it for free, it's streaming-only.

Re:Any plans to being Amazon video to consoles? (1)

bastion_xx (233612) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377882)

Streaming not available via Tivo at this time. At least not on the Tive-HD.

Public libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376644)

Here in Toronto at least, you can take e-books out of your public library. No yearly fees (yet).

Re:Public libraries (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376708)

i see so many so called poor people at toys r us and other stores buying all kinds of electronic devices the time for libraries is going away. with low prices and access to a lot of content there will be no need to pay for a library.

the whole idea of a library was made up in a time when books cost a very large percentage of a paycheck

Re:Public libraries (1)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377228)

The yearly fees for your library are already paid - through taxes, unless your libraries spontaneously come into existence without needing any funding. Last year I was charged $49 in property taxes to support the library system. Because we go to the library often, it is a cheap yearly fee for us but a fee nonetheless.

Re:Public libraries (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378438)

The difference being that a library is a public good, and your fees go to keeping its doors open also for people who pay less property tax than you, e.g. the poor, the elderly, children who live in foster homes, etc. If you just give $79 to Amazon, you're merely buying one more product to hoard for yourself.

... so, like a Library? (1)

cshake (736412) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376666)

So it's like a library, but you pay for it?

I know, I know, libraries are paid for with taxes and their various fundraisers, but that's because they have physical buildings to maintain in addition to the books. Unless this service is pennies a week, it's gonna be a ripoff. Their distribution costs are negligible (text files of books are what, a few kB?), inventory control is practically free because there's no such thing as a lost book, and they can send out as many copies as necessary instead of waiting for one patron to return one after they're done. The only cost to them is the book rights in the first place.

Re:... so, like a Library? (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376722)

$79 a year which includes free 2 day shipping on all physical purchases and access to their online media catalog as well. not a lot of money

Re:... so, like a Library? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376804)

It was well worth the money just for the shipping for me. I save at least $80/yr on shipping with it. And the media was a bonus. This will be an awesome bonus.

Re:... so, like a Library? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376778)

The only cost to them is the book rights in the first place.

Bandwith isn't free, servers aren't free, the people to maintain and upgrade them aren't free, the people who go to the publishers and lobby for the content to host in the first place aren't free, and if a business isn't making some profit, they can't (or won't) continue.

Just because uTorrent doesn't cost you anything to use doesn't mean that every business needs to compete with that "model". At the end of the day, businesses have to keep the lights on. Also, you're not being compelled to pay for their service if you don't want to use it; unlike libraries where whether or not you use their services, your taxes in part go to maintain them.

I'm neither shilling for business or anti-library, but people need to remember that your belief that you should get things for free or close to it doesn't make it possible (or worthwhile) for a business to do so.

Re:... so, like a Library? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376890)

Bandwith isn't free, servers aren't free, the people to maintain and upgrade them aren't free, the people who go to the publishers and lobby for the content to host in the first place aren't free, and if a business isn't making some profit, they can't (or won't) continue.

A typical ebook is about 500k. The per-book cost is negligible and when you already have a huge server farm the cost of adding a few more servers to store them is in the noise on your budget.

Its part Of Prime (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376840)

It is going to be part of your Prime membership, as yet another value add. And $79 / year is in fact "pennies a day".

Originally, Amazon prime only gave you free unlimited 2 day shipping. Now it gives you that, plus free unlimited streaming of TV and movies. Now, they are going to add unlimited book rentals as well.

If you are an existing Prime customer, this is nothing but a good thing. If you are not, this is yet another way for Amazon to get you into Prime.

It's actually a very smart move, vs. making a stand-alone service.

Re:... so, like a Library? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377130)

> So it's like a library, but you pay for it?

Unless I want to read the "romantic fiction" in the local branch, each library lending request costs me 50 pence ( about 35 cents ).

Not a lot, but not free.

OH WOW! I GET TO *RENT* DATA??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376724)

Reallly?!?!? Oh my GOD I feel so privileged!

So, something that costs an infinitesimally small amount of money to copy, I get to pay 10 times the price for, to see it ONLY ONCE, and ONLY for a limited amount of time.

THEN! Because this piece of data is so magical and mysterious I have to "give a digital copy of it back" (aka: let it become useless). Just so I can pay for it all over again, the next time I want to see it.

Yeah.

I'll pay for that.

That's funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376836)

The library down the street used to do this for free. -www.awkwardengineer.com [awkwardengineer.com]

Hmm, Project Gutenberg? Public library ebooks? (1)

Swave An deBwoner (907414) | more than 3 years ago | (#37376852)

the digital ebook library would feature older titles

This sounds a bit like they are going for out-of-copyright stuff in the first place. So why not just get these books from Project Gutenberg?

Also many public libraries (e.g., The New York Public Library) offer ebooks via a DRM-enforced lending mechanism using "Adobe Digital Editions" software. I download the ebook to my PC then copy it via ADE to my Nook. They currently have only about 13,000 ebooks of this sort (not counting copyright-free stuff that they also make available through NYPL).

I have not found a source of free current technical ebooks though, other than papers and documentation provided in PDF format (which Calibre can convert to a format more suitable for a portable ereader, given that most of them don't handle PDF as well as they do other formats like ePub).

Re:Hmm, Project Gutenberg? Public library ebooks? (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377384)

This sounds a bit like they are going for out-of-copyright stuff in the first place. So why not just get these books from Project Gutenberg?

Shhhhhhhhh! Don't tell people how to get around their idiot-driven model. :>

Aren't ALL digital books rentals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37376864)

Most still contain DRM, so you don't own them even if you pay for them.

How are they going to stop book Piracy? (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377116)

Last week (out of pure curiosity) I downloaded relatively small torrent that contained text docs of every single star trek novel. I thought to myself, wow, this is amazing. How is the publishing industry ever going to stop this? One blueray disk that costs $1 is large enough to contain the top 500,000 ebooks, which is virtually all of them really. Three or four blu-ray disks would hold every title Amazon sells. Don't we need to rethink commerce? Why would anyone rent a digital copy if the alternatives are so much simpler?

Re:How are they going to stop book Piracy? (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377382)

Piracy has nothing to do with the availability of digital books. Most books are pirated by scanning and OPRing a physical book. The DRM on a physical book sucks. To make a copy you just need one of those cheap multi function printers and the willingness to cut the spine off the book. Trying to DRM books is like trying to prevent people from photographing sculptures in public places.

Re:How are they going to stop book Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377720)

that last comment must have been OCRed as well...

Re:How are they going to stop book Piracy? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 3 years ago | (#37378188)

I'd say the DRM of a physical book works quite well.

Doesn't get in the owners way, can pass on the book to someone else at will, and the pirated versions of it are generally inferior in quality, enough so that having the real thing is better than the pirated version.

US only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377120)

Amazon is soon going to launch an e-book rental service soon for US customers. Simultaneously they're launching a hack-my-service competition in the rest of the world.

Fixed that for you.

e-rental? (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377158)

What'd be the real life, real technology meaning of an e-rental?
I get I file that I later need to delete when the rental expires?
Smart! Very smart indeed!

Re:e-rental? (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377340)

What'd be the real life, real technology meaning of an e-rental?
I get I file that I later need to delete when the rental expires?
Smart! Very smart indeed!

You make it sound like spreading the seeds of lawsuit potential. Amazon could sue for cash and pass part of that cash on to the publishers whenever their profit margin starts falling. Sounds like encouragement of piracy for future survival safety from what you say.

I didn't think about it that way, but nice observation!

Unfortunately, they'll just have AmazonWare(tm)(c)(r)(sm) on every usable device to spread their visibility and reliance. Reminds me of some small company from the past called something strange like.. Micro-software... or something. :)

I predict the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377288)

...Digital camera, photo shots of the screen to compressed JPEG images, posted on the 'net (l33k3d).

"Piracy is the result of Amazon," the pundits will say.

The days of everyone getting hunted down for posting anything and everything to the 'net that may have ANY potentially copyrighted component will be prosecuted. People will be sued for posting pictures of someone in a family shot that was walking down the street at the time. The company's logo that is in the shot will also sue.

The days of DMCA-like over-enforcement will ensue. Repeat process all over again.

digital book library (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37377602)

Most county libraries offer to 'rent out books'. After the book is d/l, I really don't understand the 'shortage' of the book.I think the whole concept of a 'book' needs to rethought.

There's only two contexts where renting works... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 3 years ago | (#37377658)

The first, and probably largest, is where people are regularly buying new (fictional) books to read for pleasure, and after they are finished with them,they sell or give them away to somebody else, or otherwise discard them.

The second case is for college or university students who might need a particular book for one course they are taking, but are not likely to need to utilize the book afterwards. Obviously, for some courses, especially the ones that are directly in a person's primary field, permanent copies are probably going to want to retained, but for courses outside one's chosen discipline, that are often part of a breadth requirement for getting a degree, it is easily conceivable that books might be needed for the course that a person would never have any reason to look at again after the course was completed. If renting is sufficiently less expensive than buying, I can see this being *VERY* profitable for school bookstores, because they can effectively cut out a significant amount of competition by the used book market.

Re:There's only two contexts where renting works.. (1)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 3 years ago | (#37379700)

My daughter's college now rents as well as sells many of its books for courses. My first reaction to this article was that it would be a great benefit to students (and their parents!) if you could rent a e-textbook from Amazon for the length of a semester. As you say, some books are worth purchasing even at the ridiculous prices now charged for textbooks. We bought her organic chemistry textbook for that reason. But there are lots of books that students will only need for at most a few months. Renting e-books makes a lot of sense for students, especially since the problems of wear and tear would be eliminated.

There service is already a rental service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37378132)

Just wanted to point out that there current business is already a rental business. With DRM like theirs, you never really truly own a digital ebook anyway so you were largely buying a rental term of indefinite, all they are doing now is shortening that term and charging a little less.

The all you can eat model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37378292)

Ever been to an all you can eat restaurant? Ever hear of one with a Michelin Star? The food is crap because it's whatever they can make cheaply. That's the direction entertainment is heading. The providers love the model because if they can get even a percentage of the population to sign up they make billions. Users like it because it's cheap entertainment. Who does it harm? The content creators. Suddenly the pie gets smaller so they make less. Their only solution is to make cheaper content so quality drops like a rock. In the end the average person suffers because quality suffers. We've already seen something like this if you don't believe me. Watch network TV lately? I don't. It's virtually all reality TV. Why? The can make reality shows for a tenth what they can scripted dramas and other forms. They didn't do it for creative reasons they did it because of dropping ad revenues. If all you can eat services become the norm you'll see the same happen with books, movies and music. They'll have to cut costs to compete and they won't cut executives wages they'll cut quality. In the end most of the publishers will cave in. Slashdot will declare it a victory and most posters will complain about the quality of the books on the all you can eat services. Predicting the future is easy when you know all the facts.

Older titles? (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#37379282)

From my experience, the older titles I've gotten from Amazon have been hastily OCRed and not proofread, I'm assuming to give Amazon a back catalog or books to intially entice people to buy their Kindles for. It worked on me, at least initially, but I had to train myself to substitute common OCR errors in my head as I was reading. It was a wholly unpleasant experience and wrecked my concentration. I went back to buying actual books, which has been better - I spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer screen at work, let alone any home computer or screen-related downtime. If I pick up something to read, I want a BOOK - I want an interface I don't even have to think about, and readers feel too much like work to me.

My point being, Amazon leaning on their extensive library of "older" titles is a bit of a letdown. The quality just isn't up to par.

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