It’s rare that Amazon isn’t leading the charge in some aspect of the book industry, but news came out today that Amazon is experimenting with ebook subscription models. In the often-compared Netflix climate, this would allow consumers to read unlimited content for one flat monthly fee.
GigaOm grabbed a link to the page for the new feature on Amazon.com, as reported by TechCrunch only a few minutes ago. Interestingly, the image only alludes to 600,000 titles available in the Amazon catalog, not the full ebook catalog, which could mean that Amazon would have the same problem with acquiring content for lending that has plagued the ebook subscription model since it first became news back in 2010.
While several companies are still pursuing the subscription model in some format–whether it’s full-length works, long-form journalism, or e-shorts–two players in the game have actually made a viable model out of it and been able to attract both readers and publishers with content. Oyster and Scribd are currently leading the way in subscription ebooks, and Scribd’s CEO Trip Adler had this to say about Amazon’s potential move into the subscription sphere:
“The apparent entrance of Amazon into the subscription market is exciting for the industry as a whole. It’s validation that we’ve built something great here at Scribd. Publishers, authors and readers alike have all seen the benefit, so its no surprise they’d want to test the waters. Successful companies don’t fear competition, but rather embrace it, learn from it and use it to continue to fuel their own innovation which is exactly what we intend to continue doing.”
It will be interesting to see how Amazon takes on this model, if it actually does so. The Amazon page with the signup button has been cached, but hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.