The publishing world is abuzz today with talk of a new project over at Amazon.com. Amazon is in the process of working with book publishers to launch a Netflix-like service for digital books, in which customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, the Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required).

Speculation is that Amazon Prime customers will get first crack at the new service, which would offer access to a predetermined collection of e-books for no extra charge. Some commentators are already suggesting that this could be Amazon’s next coup in the publishing market, hot on the heels of announcing the November release of its new tablet computer, dubbed simply “The Kindle" and expected to retail for $250.

Amazon has long been known for creating a buzz in the book world, but today’s news of progress in serious talks with publishers to create a new service that will potentially revolutionize the e-publishing industry and could end up being as fundamental a shift for books as Netflix’s streaming video service has been for movies and TV shows, has added fuel to Amazon’s fire.

According to the Journal, the e-book library Amazon may offer will consist of older titles (another similarity to Netflix) and that Prime subscribers would be limited to downloading a few titles from the library every month. Amazon’s Kindle e-book store currently has over 950,000 items.

A subscription to Amazon Prime, which costs $79 a year and offers customers free two-day shipping, $3.99 next-day shipping, and access to Amazon’s library of streaming video content, but it still remains a steep purchase. Having access to a bundle of e-books could fit right into Prime and would add more value to the service for existing subscribers, but is it really worth the price of membership?

Maybe, especially if you are contemplating purchasing Amazon’s new tablet this fall. If all goes as planned, you might just also have access to a brand new book collection to enjoy alongside you shiny new tablet.

Courtesy of VentureBeat

Today TNR and the rest of the publishing industry mourn the death of Project Gutenberg co-founder Michael Stern Hart. Hart was an early proselytizer for digitizing and making freely available the world’s information on the Internet. Armed with an early Xerox mainframe and sparked by an idea to type every letter of a copy of the Declaration of Independence into text and send it to everyone he knew on the Xerox mainframe, Hart’s initial dip into the early days of social networking almost brought down the entire Xerox network. While a peculiar start for Project Gutenberg, Hart’s impetus eventually translated into one of the most forward-thinking projects in the history of technology, the ebook, and a life’s work dedicated to taking the written page and translating it to ones and zeros. Mr. Hart’s industry, charity, and modesty will be sorely missed.
An obituary was published by Project Gutenburg for Mr. Hart upon learning of his death in his Illinois home earlier this week.
Courtesy of TechCrunch
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Today TNR and the rest of the publishing industry mourn the death of Project Gutenberg co-founder Michael Stern Hart. Hart was an early proselytizer for digitizing and making freely available the world’s information on the Internet. Armed with an early Xerox mainframe and sparked by an idea to type every letter of a copy of the Declaration of Independence into text and send it to everyone he knew on the Xerox mainframe, Hart’s initial dip into the early days of social networking almost brought down the entire Xerox network. While a peculiar start for Project Gutenberg, Hart’s impetus eventually translated into one of the most forward-thinking projects in the history of technology, the ebook, and a life’s work dedicated to taking the written page and translating it to ones and zeros. Mr. Hart’s industry, charity, and modesty will be sorely missed.

An obituary was published by Project Gutenburg for Mr. Hart upon learning of his death in his Illinois home earlier this week.

Courtesy of TechCrunch