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Amazon and Random House Announce Plans for Online Pay-Per-View

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There were numerous reports yesterday about big announcements from Amazon and Random House. First of all, the online retail giant unveiled Amazon Pages. The program allows consumers to view parts of a book online for a fee. Amazon did not provide details on pricing and no major publishers have signed up for the program.

Meanwhile, Random House detailed its terms for viewing books online. General fiction and nonfiction titles expect to earn 4 cents per page for all page views that exceed more than 5% of the total book. Random House considers that percentage to be a fair sample a reader would need to decide if they like a book or not. For more reference oriented material such as cookbooks, the price will probably be higher and the fair sample percentage lower presumably to keep you from getting Rachel Ray’s recipe for Smoky Chipotle Chili Con Queso Mac every night without ever buying the book. The technology is such that the pages cannot be downloaded, printed, or copied. Authors who do not wish to participate in the page view program can opt out.

The press release from Random House quoted Richard Sarnoff, president of the company’s Corporate Development Group as saying “we believe it is important for publishers to be innovative in providing digital options for consumers to access our content, especially in light of the emergence of ubiquitous internet access and improved display technologies that can support sustained reading.”