Buy Books by the Page with Amazon Pages -- Random House, Too

by Sid Steward

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Forbes says:

"Amazon Pages will dole out the data in increments--by chapter, section or even a single page. Thus, one needn't buy an entire book--although that option will exist, too--if all one desires is, say, a recipe or other chunk of how-to info."

I first learned about this in the Wall Street Journal. It has a good quote from Bezos: "It's really important to do this cooperatively with the copyright holders, with the publishing community, with the authors. We're going to keep working in that cooperative vein." This makes sense only in the context of Google Library and its strong-arm relationship with print publishers.

The press enjoys comparing Amazon Pages to Google Library. They aren't related, except possibly as salvos in a larger battle. However, I had earlier suggested that Google could win over publishers by giving them a means to make money on out-of-print material. My idea was much like Amazon Pages: charge money to show the page scan to the reader, split the money with publishers.

Forbes continues talking about another service, Amazon Upgrade:

"Amazon Upgrade, the slightly less amazing stepsister of Amazon Pages, furnishes Web access to a book already purchased."

The WSJ article also continues talking about a plan announced by Random House to place book content online. Here's an online article on the topic:

"... The plan, which will include agreements with a range of online vendors, will be based on per-page micro-payments that could revolutionize the way books are bought and read.

"The world's largest trade publisher will charge websites four cents per page for fiction and narrative nonfiction (a 350-page book would cost $14, for example), ostensibly allowing vendors to determine their own pricing schemes."

I am impressed that Random House is partnering with vendors instead of trying to run the whole show. It would be cool if publishers offered APIs into their collections. Very Web 2.0.

Of course, you already knew that Safari Online has an API.