A New Direction for eBooks

Amazon announced a new option to read eBooks today. Now for $10 a month you can have access to over 600,000 eBooks as well as audio books from Audible. It’s a bit like paying a library fee and not a totally new concept for Amazon, given the availability of some textbooks books for online rental.

If you think about it, it’s a logical extension of the expansion of cloud-based media subscription services like those for music and movies, as well as, although it is not quite so obvious, software subscription services like those being used now for Adobe products like Photoshop and Microsoft’s Office. I underscore the notion of cloud-based here, since these services can be made available across a range of devices (desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet) the subscriber owns and the service is cross-platform (Windows, Mac OS and in some cases Unix). Storage space on devices can now be more efficiently used with content no longer stored. I wonder at times if we understand we realize that we no longer own a copy of the book, CD, MP3 or movie. Not that we cannot still actually buy books, CDS, MP3’s and DVDs, but we are gradually being weaned from doing so.

For heavy readers like myself, Kindle books are a blessing. I simply own too many books in paper form and the challenge to finding shelf space for them is overwhelming. Some have been relegated to tall stacks on the floor in a corner somewhere. I no longer need search to find one of my books. It’s there on my iPad and searchable.

But what will be the unexpected consequences of the continuing shift to cloud-based subscription services on the economy of media production? Still to be solved or exploited is how we share what we are reading with each other. Book publishers will have much to negotiate, particularly since some authors may want to see them removed from the chain from author to deliver to readers.

2 thoughts on “A New Direction for eBooks

  1. I didn’t know Amazon had an eBook service for $10 a month. I think it’s a good idea for Amazon to start this kind of service for customers because some books are read only once, which would be a waste to buy. The fee also seems very reasonable. The cloud-based media subscription is convenient but I could see how it could cause problems with book publishers and publishing companies. Companies that physically bind and make books and book publishers will have to figure out a way to work with the new trend of eBooks and subscription services. Digital pdfs and books these days are very easy to share so there will have to be a lot more regulation on sharing. With physical books, I also do not have enough space for them at home and end up throwing away a lot of old books that are just taking up space. This was an interesting post and it helped me think about how a lot of physical things are slowly becoming obsolete. Through this post I learned more about eBooks and will consider whether to use them in the future.

  2. Amazon is a very smart company for what they are trying to do, due to it being a huge profit for them in the end. Libraries and book stores like Barnes and Knoble are going out of business and are on the verge of going extinct it seems like. I believe E-Books are only the beginning, and who knows what could happen next? With technology sky rocketing over the years, devices like the kindle are only going to get m ore popular with time and money. It is quick and easy to access for the consumer, and with the flow our society is going down, they only want things to get easier for them. Amazon is on the right path to success.

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