Netflix for Kindle?

Is there a Netflix-type service for the Kindle, Nook or other ebook devices, where for a monthly fee the subscriber can have any book or two checked out on the device?  It would essentially be a fee-based ebook library.

If not, I can provide a sample size of one (me) that there may be a market for that.

One thing keeping me from buying a Kindle, or similar device, is that I don’t really want to buy all the books I read (thank you local library) and keep them.  But, I can see myself paying a monthly fee to have an ebook or two checked out at a time.

Maybe this service already exists and I don’t know about it.  Perhaps my local library will start the service soon.  They do have a similar service for audiobooks that you can download onto your iPod devices, but the title selection is limited.

Below are a couple other reasons keeping me from buying an ebook device.  Again, maybe there are existing solutions to these and I don’t know about it.

One concern is  with book file formats.  Will today’s ebook files work on tomorrow’s ebook devices?  I’d hate to keep having to buy or convert my ebook library files every time a better ebook device came along.

I do buy books that I like and want to keep in my personal library.  The reasons I buy books for my personal library are to have easy access to those books that I’d like to reference in the future and to be able to lend to others who are interested in reading my recommendations.

As far as I can tell, the ebook device would be great for reference.   But, I’m not sure whether I would be able to lend my ebook files to friends.  Is that possible?

Perhaps, the more limited versatility of ebooks, along with a cheaper distribution (printing, shipping, etc.)  is reflected in the lower price of ebooks, and these are things I will have to give up to move into the ebook world.   But, I’m sure there are creative people out there who can figure out how to retain more of the benefits of hard copy books, while still capturing a lower cost for a cheaper distribution method.


25 thoughts on “Netflix for Kindle?

  1. No not yet, at least I don’t know of one either. The closest thing is audible for audio books, but even then you still “buy” the book.
    I like the idea though. There would be a huge free-rider problem though. You’d have one person “renting” then copy/paste to everyone else. But I’m not sure how big of a problem that would be. Digital music has that problem, but not at the level critics use…people still do buy music (both CD, Vinyl and mp3).
    I think the easiest way to get around that would be to have an app, like the kindle app for ipad/iphone. There’d have to be someway to get back that overdue book. Maybe the Netflix model where you can’t get another book until you return the old one, or pay a fee.
    You think we should start one up?

    • Oh, if I were you. I’d go with the Kindle. I have the Nook and I love it (or I should say my wife loves it, I don’t get to read it that often), but B&N book selection isn’t a big as the one for Kindle. I can’t get “Free to Choose” from the B&N store but it is available for the Kindle…but if your reading newer stuff then they are about equal.

    • I was envisioning that you would check in a book to get the next one. That seems to work well with Netflix model. It doesn’t mean that someone could have copied off the file in some permanent format.

      I think in any model, the pirates will exist. They always have.

      Yes, let’s start one. I imagine we’d be crushed as soon as Amazon or B&N got in the game. But, who knows? Maybe they’d just buy ours’.

      Thanks for the tips on Kindle and Nook. That’s good info. Not having “Free to Choose” is an instant deal breaker.

      • It’s not a deal breaker if you can get the pdf of “Free to Choose.” Adding pdfs to the Nook is easier than to the Kindle, unless Amazon has updated their firmware.

        My wife is reading the Harry Potter books on the Nook and neither B&N or Amazon sells them for their respective e-readers. =)

    • Thanks for the tip. The price on the wifi only looks appetizing. I might have to go back on my previous thoughts that the iPad will wipe out Kindle, just based on my own higher willingness to purchase a Kindle now.

      But, I’d still like to have a Netflix/library service.

      • I’m thinking about getting that new Kindle myself, that way I can have something while the wife reads Potter.
        Problem with the iPad is that Apple is actually slow on innovation now. They aren’t putting out new and exciting products like they used to. Yeah the iPad is “cool” but only because it’s a big iPod touch. Meanwhile, Samsung, LG, HP, Microsoft and even Google are working on their own slate/pad computer. Which one is going to have the best processor, memory, and other features in the next year?
        Apple won’t come out with a revamp of the iPad for another year or two. By then the market will have plenty of competitors to choose from.

  2. I think we all should start pounding on netflix to add an ebook service! They have already developed a model that keeps the entertainment industry happy with some kind of compensation per rental (I assume). I understand that in the netflix model the artists get a piece of the rental action which would be terrific for authors. In our current model authors and publishers are only paid the first time a print book is sold but each print books has a life and gets reread multiple times as books are resold or passed around. In a netflix style rental model the authors and publishers would get a tiny reward with each rental but would actually get a payment per read.

    I don’t see piracy in book rental being any different from piracy in DVD rentals. And how does netflix handle streaming of content? They have worked out some solutions here. If they aren’t working on the ebook rental thing they are missing a huge growth opportunity.

    How many readers would jump into the e-reader market if they could afford their reading habit by renting instead of buying. This heavy library user could easily justify a similar monthly rental fee just as all the netflix movie junkies justify their netflix subscriptions.

    I see this as a potential growth area for publishers who might sell few print books but could stream income from their entire list forever simply for the cost of having the electronic files available for download.

    Netflix is also powerful and successful enough to insist on an industry standard so that the consumers decision to buy an e-reader would be based on considerations other than a limited list of available material. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where your decision to buy a reader was based on the reader itself, not the list of material you could easily download to your device?

    The current Amazon/iPad/iBookstore model is a lousy deal for the consumer. We pay a slightly reduced price for books in electronic form but we are not able to lend or sell our files. Which means buying e-books means one pays a meaningful premium for the convenience of having our books on an electronic reader instead of lugging pounds of paper around.

    • Thanks for the great comment. I agree. I’d love to have the Kindle, but I buy a small % of books that I read, so the thought of having to buy books to be able to use the Kindle keeps me from buying it.

      Right now, my library is a better deal. And, I would be happy to pay my library a subscription fee for a Kindle rental service.

      • I assumed I would be able to move downloaded books from the library’s ebook service to a device. Before I bought my kindle I even practiced downloading a couple of books. Alas I would have to read them on my computer.

        I ordered the smallest Kindle tho when I thought I would be able to put library books on it. so, for now, am loading it with some of the classics that are available through the Gutenberg Project (copyright free material). Amazon doesn’t make them easy to find but they are easy to download fromAmazon once you find the title and confirm that you are about to clock on the free version.

        The Kindle is going to be so great for travel. And I would use it a lot if I could get a netflix like subscription. I am sure such a service is coming but I want it NOW! I didn’t realize I was being an early adapter here, big downside to early adapting!

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      • before you part with $50 do some research! This sounded too good to be true to me.

        A red flag went up for me when the site would not let me look at what books I might be able to download. And, frankly, “thousands” of books did not sound like very many! The Gutenberg Project has scanned and made available free and freely, through Amazon and the iBook stores plus other places, thousands of books (classics, books whose copyright has expired).

        I waded through a couple pages of links searching for reviews of this site/service. Lots of glowing advertorial style posts-another red flag!

        I finally stumbled across this review:

        I think I will not jump on this opportunity to part with $50.

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    • I finally succeeded in downloading an audiobook to my computer and transferring it to my iPod (Nano).

      When I chatted with an apparently tech savvy person at the Sublette Cty Wyoming library she seemed to think that it was going to get easier to download ebooks directly to a device from the overdrive service most libraries subscribe to soon. I have downloaded to my computer but can’t get a book to successfully download to my device (iPad). On my to do list is to head over to the San Jose, CA public library and see if they can help me successfully download a book and transfer it to my iPad for reading. Has anyone out there reading this successfully gotten an overdrive book onto a reading device?

  7. I haven’t used this yet myself as I have a TON of free books from Pixel of Ink ( blog) and some I’ve already purchased that I need to read but it’s been called the “eBook netflix” –

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  9. I just googled Muze + ebooks and got to They haven’t updated their website since November. Still no specific information re a catalog or pricing or possible launch date. And they posted a broken link on their facebook page – not a good sign!

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