I am presently reading Melissa F. Miller’s Irreparable Harm. I didn’t buy it, but rather “checked it out” from Amazon Prime’s free check-out program. The way that it works is that you can check out one book a month. You can keep it for more than a month, if you choose, but but there’s still the maximum of one.

Having a maximum is fair. They want us to buy books and if checking-out becomes too easy, we can do that instead of buying. I totally get that. Here is what I don’t get, though: they should give us more incentive to buy the book. If, for instance, they said “Hey, buy the book that you have checked out and you can check out another book.” It’s the perfect try-before-you-buy. The more you buy, the more you can try. Now, I can take the $4 it would cost to buy Irreparable Harm and buy some other book for that amount, and in the end I will have read two books and purchased one, but I actually think it would be a better to encourage people to buy books that have been checked out. Among other things, it would encourage publishers to allow people to check out their books.

There may be a broader idea here where for every $10 you spend on ebooks, you can check out one for free. That might be an even better idea. I mean, I could see some potential hazard with someone who buys a lot of books reading a lot of other books for free. I’m not sure that giving too much to people who are spending a lot of money is a bad idea, exactly, but even if I am wrong about that, I am still struggling to see a downside to allowing me to get an extra rental by buying the book I just checked out. The author wins. I win. Amazon wins. Who loses?

Category: Market

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3 Responses to Missed Business Opportunity

  1. Sheila Tone says:

    Can we do this on Kindle? I’ll bet not not, that would be too easy …

  2. trumwill says:

    Oh, if I wasn’t clear, the whole “check-out” thing is Kindle-based. Not actual books. You can do it on your Kindle so long as you an Amazon Prime customer (the selection of books you can check out is comparatively limited, though). Alas, you can’t get an extra check-out by buying. A missed business opportunity! {shaking fist into air}

  3. SFG says:

    You know if you’d gone to Harvard you’d have VC funding for this by now.

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