Amazon is negotiating with publishers to set up a subscription-based ebook lending library.
Under the plans, Amazon would offer an annual subscription giving access to a catalogue of titles for readers such as its Kindle, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, which quoted sources close to the negotiations.
The proposals would feature older titles rather than new releases, and be available to anyone signed up to Amazon Prime, which costs $79/year and currently offers perks such as free delivery.
However, with booksellers already worried about potential ebook damage to their main market, Amazon might find it hard to sell the idea of a subscription-based system.
“Several publishing executives said they aren't enthusiastic about the idea because they believe it could lower the value of books and because it could strain their relationships with other retailers that sell their books,” the report said, without naming the sources.
According to the Journal, Amazon would offer book publishers a lump sum for signing up to the scheme and may sweeten the deal by limiting the number of books users can download each month.
It is unclear whether any publishers have signed up already or whether the system will be made available in Australia.
Amazon has yet to return requests for comment.