The service is reportedly dubbed “Kindle Unlimited” and has over 600,000 titles for $9.99 a month, many from Amazon Publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing, the self-publishing arm of Amazon. A quick survey by GigaOm revealed no “big five” publishers in the mix. Both HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster do business with Scribd and Oyster, which offer a selection of about 400,000 each to readers for $8.99 and $9.95 a month, respectively.
No word yet on how the service would work in conjunction with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows Amazon Prime customers who also own Kindle devices to borrow one ebook a month free of charge. Also no details have emerged on how authors and publishers will be compensated. Amazon has not yet responded to request for comment.
UPDATE: Publishers Lunch is reporting that at least some publishers will be paid as if an ebook has been purchased every time one is read on the Kindle Unlimited platform. Scholastic has confirmed as much.
According to cached pages linked by GigaOm, Kindle Unlimited offers “unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for just $9.99 a month.”
Trip Adler, CEO of Scribd, which is a major player in the market, believes the entrant of a new competitor will be good for ebook subscription services as a whole:
“The apparent entrance of Amazon into subscription market is exciting for the industry as a whole,” he said in an email statement. “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.”
Oyster CEO Eric Stromberg agrees:
“We’re not surprised,” he wrote in an email statement. “They have pivoted from transactional to subscription-based in other media, and have had limited success. They really paved the way in ebooks, and it’s exciting to see them embrace the market we created as the future of books.”
Promotional video for Kindle Unlimited: