There is a report in the Sunday Wall Street Journal that Google may be thinking about online book rentals. The proposed for a one week rental of a book online would be 10% of the book’s list price.
While this isn’t as cheap as going to the library, for someone like me living in Japan it would be a godsend. One of the things I miss most about living here is not having access to good books without them costing a small fortune. While reading a book on a computer isn’t as enjoyable as sitting down in a comfy chair to do the same, something would be better than nothing.
How it would be embraced by consumers that have access to a variety of inexpensive alternatives including the library is another question, but my gut feeling is that there would be a market there. If that is the case, I would assume that Amazon executives are scrambling to see if they can form their own deal – I don’t think that they would want Google stepping into what they consider their arena.
I will be interested to see how this develops…