Amazon is considering launching a digital eBook library that will allow Kindle and other eReader owners to rent books to read on their devices.
The scheme would see consumers being given access to a library of older titles they can 'rent' for a specified period of time, in an approach similar to that offered by online movie rental services such as LoveFilm. The service would be available to Amazon Prime users, which currently pay £49 per year to benefit from features such as free delivery. It is also thought Amazon could limit the number of books that could be read for free each month.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant is in talks with book publishers regarding the scheme. However, the WSJ claimed several publishing executives are unsure "because they believe it could lower the value of books and because it could strain their relationships with other retailers that sell their books" despite the fact Amazon is expected to offer book publishers "a substantial fee" for taking part.
According to the WSJ, publishers would rather have people buy their books, and the scheme "could create the impression among consumers that books have little inherent real value".
"What it would do is downgrade the value of the book business," one source told the WSJ.
Amazon has yet to respond to request for comment.