Amazon offers physical bookstores a cut of Kindle e-book sales, and just enough rope

Just as Kobo has cozied up to physical booksellers, so too does Amazon have a plan to smother them in e-ink kisses. Under the company's new "Amazon Source" program, any independent bookstore that sells a Kindle tablet or e-reader will be rewarded with ten percent of future book purchases made on that device. This incentive will be in addition to the margin they'll make on re-selling the hardware in the first place, although this margin will be less than that given to retailers who choose to stay out of the Source program.

In terms of hard cash, the combined total might actually be worth something to struggling stores, depending on how many units they're able to sell, and it's surely designed to entice them away from Kobo. That said, we're still inclined to wonder whether this is a supremely clever Trojan Horse. A bookseller will only get a cut on digital e-book sales made within two years of the device being purchased -- just enough time for a Kindle customer to get hooked on speedy electronic transactions, and for the store to be turned into a Taco Bell.