In the Summer Amazon introduced a Kindle rental system in the USA that offered customers up to 80% off the price of the print textbook. The service was aimed towards University and college students who didn't need the book long term.
Customers can choose a rental period of between 30 and 365 days and are able to extend the rental by as little as one day. They can also convert the rental at any time and pay to purchase the book.
The program initially launched with around 20,000 textbooks on offer however it looks like they are extending the service to regular books too as titles such as Theories of International Politics and Zombies and The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking in which you can now rent the book instead of buying.
The rental price seems to be around a third of the full kindle price. This offers a great saving to anyone who is planning to read a book right away. As a reader and an author, I'm excited by this. I think this is a fair system that encourages people to read more. I don't expect this option to be available for all books when they do roll this out. It makes more sense to restrict rentals to books that cost $9.99 or more.
Authors may lose some revenue from people who would have bought their books but decided to rent as well, however they will gain from people who rent their books who wouldn't have otherwise purchased their book. And there is always the chance that the reader will upgrade their rental to a purchase when the rental period is drawing near.
What do you think of the idea of renting eBooks?