Amazon working on ebook rental service

Amazon could be working on an e-book rental service, that would see you paying a monthly fee for access to its library.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
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Amazon could be working on a rental service for ebooks, that would see customers paying a fixed monthly fee for access to Amazon's library of ebooks. You know, kind of like a real library. But on the Internet!

The news comes via a report in the Wall Street Journal (paywall link), which says that Amazon is in talks with book publishers about the service.

We'd imagine the service would work with Amazon sucking a fixed amount from your account every month and then letting you rent as many ebooks as you can stuff up your jumper, to read on your Kindle, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, Android phone or even in your browser.

It has to be said, we've never found Amazon's selection of ebooks to be particularly pricey, and while new books can be a bit dear, loads of classic reads can be found for less than a quid.

So we wonder if anyone could be bothered paying a fixed monthly price for ebook rental when buying them outright is reasonably affordable. We reckon you'd need to be a particularly avid reader to make a subscription worthwhile, so this could be something of a treat for Kindle addicts, rather than something that wins over new fans.

Like any service that requires the say-so of big publishing companies or record labels, we'd be amazed if this new rental service becomes available in the UK any time soon. It's normal for us to have to wait longer than the US, or never get those services at all.

Still, with ordinary paper libraries not as popular as they were in the times of 1994 box-office bomb The Pagemaster, we wonder if councils could help fund Amazon's ebook rental plans in the UK? Y'know, keep the kids reading and all that.

Meanwhile, Amazon is strongly rumoured to be cooking up an affordable Kindle tablet for release before Christmas.

Would you rent ebooks from Amazon? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.