Amazon.com Inc. introduced a monthly subscription service on Friday, which will allow members access to as many titles as they wish in its library of more than 600,000 electronic books, at a fee of $9.99.
Customers who subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited service can access titles such as “The Hunger Games” and “Life of Pi” via Amazon’s Kindle e-reader or any gadget that supports the Kindle app. Members can also access thousands of titles presented in audio formats. The introduction of Kindle Unlimited comes as Amazon is caught up in a long-drawn contract wrangle with Hachette Book Group, the fourth-largest publisher in the US. The company is also involved in negotiations over pricing of eBooks with Simon & Schuster.
According to Huffington Post, the new service will appeal to many readers, compared with government-operated library systems, because they’ll be looking out for speed and convenience of use, aspects that Amazon has proved to be excellent at.
Amazon’s latest move is in line with readers’ surging taste for subscription-based options for accessing electronic media, in the same way Netflix Inc. offers movies and television programs and Spotify music.
The Kindle Unlimited service faces competition from Oyster that offers unlimited access to more than 500,000 books for $9.95 per month.
Co-founder of Oyster Eric Stromberg told an interviewer that Amazon’s move did not come as a surprise to him, although his firm’s deals with major publishers gave it a richer inventory.
“They’ve tried to pivot from transaction to subscription-based in other forms of media – music, movies, kids’ books – and had limited success. Through our partnerships with Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster, two of the largest publishers in the world, we’re able to deliver to our audience a vast and deep catalog of the best books in the world,” he’s quoted by Reuters as saying.