By Larry Magid

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— An Amazon leak appears to have shown the company is readying an unlimited subscription service for ebooks as well as audio books.

Apparently the Seattle-based company had a page up on their website that some people got to look at before it was taken down. It was cached, which means I was able to see a replica of it.

With the deal you get unlimited access to 600,000 titles for $9.99 a month. It’s still not clear which publisher’s will be working with them on this. It doesn’t seem like everyone’s on board quite yet, which could be a problem.

The bottom line is they’re trying to do for books what Spotify did for music and what Netflix accomplished with movies. I should point out that there are already companies doing this, like Scribd and Oyster, but Amazon has deep pockets and a proven relationship with the publishing industry.

Initially, Amazon sold paper books through the Internet, much to the chagrin of the more traditional brick-and-mortar stores like Barnes & Noble and Borders, which have been hit hard and have had to close numerous retail locations as a result.

Then along came the e-book, which further disrupted the book-selling industry, Amazon’s Kindle is probably by far the most popular and innovative e-reader format. More recently Amazon has entered the streaming music and video industry.

You might be thinking what about the lending library Amazon already has for its Prime subscribers. The truth is, you can only check out one book at a time with their limited titles; aside from the fact that you can only read it on certain devices.

I think this will be a much broader type of service that will work on any type of device and with a variety of software applications.

It’s also interesting that public libraries have gotten involved in this digital era with their own lending services. People should check with their local libraries to see what kind of e-reader services are available.


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