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Amazon: Charging for Content?

Submitted by on September 27, 2010 – 2:05 pmNo Comment

For years, folks have been able to go to Amazon and preview sample chapters to any book they may wish to purchase, for free, with the current “Search Inside” software. That may be changing. Amazon has reportedly applied for a patent to begin charging for reading those samples; in this case, customers would pay various fees based on a book genre or content.

The paid content model is certainly nothing new. Online newspapers and magazines are scrambling to find business models that work to help generate revenue. After so much “free” online content (videos, music, news, TV shows, books, et al), we are beginning to see more of a paid content model – and the shift in that direction is coming pretty fast and hard. 

This poses the question, will customers pay to read a sample chapter of a book when they can still go into a brick-and-mortar store and look inside a book for free?  Will they do it out of convenience? Or the fact that Amazon still offers one of the lowest price points on the market? Would you be willing to pay out for previewing a product? Or would you “chance it” and purchase the product without previewing it?

Some other models people use for author websites: free content with a PDF sample chapter in exchange for the customer’s information, or perhaps asking them to join the author’s Facebook fan-page. It makes me think of the old cliché “nothing in life is free”.