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Kindle Unlimited Launch Adds to "Rent Rather than Buy" Trend

TMCnet Feature

July 18, 2014

Kindle Unlimited Launch Adds to "Rent Rather than Buy" Trend

By Gary Kim
Contributing Editor

The launch of Kindle Unlimited, a flat fee per month book reading service, is one more illustration of the “rent rather than own” trend exemplified by car sharing and subscription song services.

This $9.95 a month service provides access to a library of over 600,000 Kindle books and Audible audiobooks.

Kindle Unlimited is available only in the United States, for the moment.

Some available titles include The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, Water for Elephants, Oh Myyy! – There Goes The Internet, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, All the King’s Men, Wonder Boys, Ask for It, The Princess Bride, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, The Atlantis Gene, Kitchen Confidential, The Sisterhood, Crazy Little Thing, The Blind Side, and The Giver, plus thousands of classics such as Animal Farm, To the Lighthouse, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Cat’s Cradle, and The Good Earth.

Titles for children and reference works including books from the For Dummies series and Lonely Planet travel guides also are available.

Private jets, evening gowns, and luxury watches are among the products that early on were made available on a rent, rather than buy basis.

A startup company called Eleven James has launched a timepiece timeshare that allows customers to get a new luxury watch every couple of months for an annual fee. The watches range in value from $7,000 to $50,000 or more, and include top names like Rolex, Audemars, Cartier and Patek Philippe.

Renting big ticket items (auto use on an episodic basis), you might argue, makes sense for lots of consumers for whom ownership requires a commitment of too much money. But vacation rentals such as Airbnb also suggest the trend could extend even to rival traditional vacation lodging markets.

"The crisis-sparked renting and sharing economy could have an effect similar to that of the Depression, in which the consumer psyche is morphed to constantly imagine a worst-case-scenario," according to equity analysts at ConvergEx.

"The recent recession, arguably, could be fostering a generation of 'renters' and 'sharers' (as opposed to 'savers') who are wary of potentially risky investment vehicles or financial instruments,” the analysts warn. 

Edited by Adam Brandt

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