Amazon Starts Its Own Online Book Content Service

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A day after Google launched its controversial book search site, Amazon.com has decided to join the party: its is planning a publisher-friendly alternative to Google’s service. The two programs: The first, dubbed Amazon Pages, allows customers to buy access to digital copies of select pages from books. The second service, called Amazon Upgrade, bundles the purchase of a physical book with online access to the complete work.

The two new services leverage Amazon’s existing “search inside the book” technology, a free feature launched two years ago its site that allows users to search the content of books.

Amazon’s programs with publishers aren’t exclusive — publishers can strike their own deals with other services…Bertelsmann AG’s Random House, one of the country’s largest publishers, is in talks to participate, though the publisher said it is interested in working with others as well to make the contents of its books available online on pay-per-page-view basis.

More details in the release here….both these services, if they work and the copyright issues don’t bog them down, are actually more innovative than either Google and Open Content Alliance (backed by Yahoo, MSN and others). The latter are innovations for innovation sake…the Amazon program ties the service to actual online and offline consumer behavior.

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