Netflix for Books? Hmmmm

Screen shot 2013-10-02 at 8.16.20 AMI was so excited when I learned how to get books from the Library for my Kindle. (Borrowing Books from your Local Library … for your Kindle!). I have borrowed many books from the library, sitting in the comfort of my own home. It’s easy … and free. There is only one thing that brings this short of being book-heaven, and that is: selection. Although I’ve read many books from my library’s digital collection, I can not limit my reading to their books because their books simply don’t go that deep. I’m assuming the collection will grow, but until then, I continue to get books from other sources as well.

Recently I’ve heard of a brand new service model for e-book-getting. 🙂

The model is kind of like Netflix. You pay a fee per month, and for that fee you get movies books.

There are several companies that are trying to gain a foothold in this emerging new market.

Oyster charges $9.95 a month for unlimited books. They only launched about a month ago, and at this time, their books are only available for reading on your iPhone or iPod Touch. ( I’m quite surprised that they started with the iPhone. I don’t think that most people do their serious reading on their phone, but obviously there was some reason behind this choice. ) 😯 Their catalog has over 100,000 books, with more to come.

Another e-book-borrowing spot just launched this week. This one is from Scribd, a six-year old document sharing service. They are charging $8.99 a month for their all-you-can-read model. A big plus for them: their catalog includes a big 5 publisher, Harper-Collins, in addition to many small publishers.

Scribd is also offering a one month trial for free. You can read their books on your Android, iPad, iPhone or Kindle Fire.

This article includes a great comparison of the two services, Osyter vs Scribd: Scribd moves beyond document sharing with $8.99/month ebook subscription service

I think a service like this could really work … IF their catalog was deep enough. For me to get excited about it, I would have to see books from major publishers, and while I could be a little patient, I would like to see books show up for borrowing within a year of being released. (and I’d want to be able to read on my Kindle Paperwhite.)

One other area of concern for me: if all I can borrow are books from small publishers that sell on Amazon for $1.99 or a bit more, well, doing the math, I could buy them within a month for probably less than it would cost to be a member. I mean, I’m a pretty fast reader, but 3 books a month would probably be my average. And the math wouldn’t be on the side of the membership model UNLESS it was offering more popular, best selling, higher $ books.

I might try a month free … and if I do, I’ll be sure to share my experience, here. 🙂

What do you think? Does a “Netflix for books” hold interest for you?

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7 thoughts on “Netflix for Books? Hmmmm

  1. I’m not sure this would be my cup of tea. Most of the books I read, I like being able to re-read, at least sections of. That’s the first thing. The second thing is, some months, I read a bunch of books, and some months barely any. At $8.99 say, that’s NINE books (in the $.99 range, which a lot of books I buy are sold at, during promos,etc). I could own nine books, and read them with no pressure of needing to return them by a certain date.

    I think this is a good tool to add to the eBook offerings, but I’m just not sure it would work for me. Plus, I still buy print books that I simply have to be able to see on my shelves every day. I’m just not sure I’d get my money’s worth…which is why I’ve never been interested in Netflix for movies, either. I can go weeks without watching a movie. I think I’m just not the kind of person a monthly rate works for, but I’m happy to know of the option, and I’ll pass it along to friends who might really enjoy it.

    Thanks, SC!

    • I have those same hesitations, Marcia. The math just doesn’t add up ….. UNLESS they include really popular best sellers which I like to read but carry a hefty price tag. We’ll see…. 🙂

    • In all seriousness …. we have a lovely library in my town and I used to go there once a week. No longer. I do borrow books from them, but for my kindle, and from home. I have not physically been in the library for weeks. I never would have believed that about me.

  2. It’s another choice. We will see where it goes. I like Amazon. I pay for the extra Prime benefit to get free shipping and unlimited streaming even though I don’t use either very often. But it’s pretty cheap – $79 a year.

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