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An Upcoming Amazon Perk: Free E-Books

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Amazon may soon give consumers more incentive to shell out $79 for an Amazon Prime membership: a library of digital books for their e-readers.

The web retailer is in talks with publishers to create a subscription-based e-book library, a la Netflix for books, reports today’s Wall Street Journal. Access could be restricted to its Amazon Prime members, who also get free two-day shipping and — as of earlier this year — free streaming for a variety of movies and TV shows. (Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.)

“A lot of people get Amazon Prime for the free shipping, but people are starting to look at it for the content,” says Daniel Rayburn, a principal analyst for Frost & Sullivan. The shipping is almost the added benefit — and that’s the reaction Amazon seems to be hoping for as it expands its role as a content provider and device manufacturer, he says. After all, at $79, Amazon Prime is almost $17 cheaper than a year of streaming on Netflix.

But Amazon does have a sparser selection than its competitor. And both have a narrow selection of streaming video titles, many of them older or of niche interest, Rayburn says. “A lot of people, frankly, just can’t find good things to watch.” The WSJ says the e-book library is likely to skew older, too, which could have limited value for subscribers. Many libraries and sites like Google Books already offer a broad selection of free e-book titles. It’s also unclear whether subscribers would need to have a Kindle or the Kindle app, or if they could use another brand of e-reader.

Pay Dirt readers, would access to a digital e-book library make paying for Amazon Prime more enticing?

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    • That is very interesting, You are an exveisscely skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look ahead to in quest of extra of your great post. Additionally, I have shared your site in my social networks

    • I am a Prime member, I share an account with a roommate (as we are allowed to do). Because she is the primary member, she gets streaming and I don’t. Do you know if this same rule will apply to the books? It might be worth my own membership.

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