For E-Books to be successful, argues Wired contributor Chris Suellentrop, they must be rentable. One of the most criticized aspects of E-Books is the inability to share or send downloaded books to friends as readers often do with paper copies.
Wired writer Chris Suellentrop has the solution. Instead of buying e-books at their relatively inexpensive price of $10 each, rent them at a standard monthly rate. Essentially, Suellentrop is calling for a “Netflix” of books. Suellentrop’s plan? E-readers will pay a monthly fee of $20 or $25 instead of $10 each time they download a book. The monthly fee will enable readers to download any number of books they want and have access to almost every book ever published.
Inside HigherEd blogger Joshua Kim has joined Suellentrop’s crusade and has listed, on his site, a number of reasons why a digital book rental program would be beneficial for both readers and authors. Among these reasons, Kim lists experimentation, costs, and flexibility.
Rental programs, he says, will help increase reader experimentation. With an all-you-can-read monthly program, readers will be able to peruse less popular and niche books, check out new authors, and download reading material that they may have passed up before. And, instead of paying $10 each time they download something they may not be completely familiar with, they’ll only be paying one, low monthly price.
A book-rental plan would be of special interest to college students at both campus and online schools; instead of paying hundreds of dollars for books that will only be read once, students would be able to digitally “borrow” the books for as long as they needed them, and then swap them out for next semester’s materials.
Read more about the proposed digital book rental program here