Amazon to launch Netflix-style service for digital books?

Details are still sketchy here, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon's looking to launch a Netflix-like subscription service for digital books, much to the chagrin of some publishers. According to unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Amazon is currently "in talks" with several publishers about the program, which would provide access to an online library in exchange for an unspecified annual fee. The insiders also claim that the service would be available for Amazon Prime subscribers (who currently pay $79 per year for free shipping and access to shows and movies) and that the proposed library would feature primarily older works, with monthly restrictions on the number of books a subscriber could read for free. Publishers would reportedly pocket a "substantial fee" for signing on to the program, though some are reluctant to participate, for fear that doing so would "downgrade the value of the book business," according to one publishing exec. In fact, it remains unclear whether any publishers have thrown their hats in the ring, but we'll certainly be on the lookout for any developments.