Home Amazon to Publishers: Don’t Worry, the Kindle Isn’t That Popular Anyway

Amazon to Publishers: Don’t Worry, the Kindle Isn’t That Popular Anyway

As the company prepares to launch its long-rumored Android-powered tablet, Amazon is busy hammering out content initiatives to ensure the device is well-suited to delivering ample digital content consumers and, in turn, more revenue back to the company’s bottom line.

In addition to negotiating with magazines and newspapers to offer a subscription service it hopes can challenge Apple’s upcoming Newsstand, Amazon is reportedly also thinking about launching an e-book rental service, according to the Wall Street Journal. The service would make a library of backlist e-books available to Amazon Prime subscribers, who already pay $79 per year for free fast shipping and some on-demand video.

News of the service, dubbed by some as a sort of “Netflix for books” is being met with mixed reactions from publishers, whose traditional business models have already been thoroughly challenged by Amazon and other digital forces.

Amazon has reportedly tried to cajole nerve-wracked publishers by assuring them that only 10% of Prime members currently own a Kindle and thus they needn’t worry that a majority of consumers would end up using the book rental service.

Of course, if Amazon has its way, not only will its traditional line of Kindles continue to grow in popularity, but its upcoming Kindle tablet will begin to chip away at the dominance of the iPad, which may end up costing twice as much as Amazon’s tablet. The number of Prime subscribers may get a boost as well, assuming the tablet itself and initiatives like this prove to be successful.

It’s not clear how successful the company has been in assuaging the concerns of book publishers over its new rental service, but it is offering generous fees for the rights to rent out the e-books exclusively, according to Paid Content.

“Amazon already has more power over every aspect of the book publishing business than Apple ever had with music or Netflix has now with anyone,” wrote Wired’s Tim Carmody. “Publishers are naturally wary of doing anything that ties their business more closely to Amazon’s and further alienates or marginalizes their competitors.”

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