by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) May 10, 2012
Amazon said Thursday it has signed a deal for the electronic books rights to all seven Harry Potter titles English, French, Italian, German and Spanish for its Kindle lending library.
The deal allows subscribers of the Amazon Prime service, which requires an annual subscription, to borrow the electronic versions of best-selling JK Rowling books.
Amazon said it inked the exclusive license with J.K. Rowling's Pottermore website to make the titles available to its customers via the Kindle e-reader.
But the deal only allows for borrowing of the ebooks, with Pottermore remaining the only place to buy the electronic versions.
"We're absolutely delighted to have reached this agreement with Pottermore. This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we'll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive.
"Over a year, borrowing the Harry Potter books, plus a handful of additional titles, can alone be worth more than the $79 cost of Prime or a Kindle. The Kindle Owners' Lending Library also has an innovative feature that's of great benefit for popular titles like Harry Potter -- unlimited supply of each title -- you never get put on a waiting list."
The Amazon lending library has now grown to over 145,000 books that can be borrowed for free as frequently as once a month, with no due dates.
Books are borrowed to read on a Kindle device, and customers can have one book out at a time. When customers want to borrow a new book, any borrowed book can be returned from their device.
Rowling laid down her pen -- and Harry's magic wand -- when she finished the seventh and final Potter book in 2007, and since then the series has sold more than 450 million copies around the world in 74 languages.
Samsung buys streaming music-movie services
The South Korean consumer electronics powerhouse did not reveal what it is paying to acquire mSpot, which is based in the Northern California city of Palo Alto.
"MSpot shares our vision to bring a best-in-class cloud and streaming entertainment experience to consumers and they've backed it up with great technical solutions," said Samsung media solution center senior vice president TJ Kang.
Samsung is buying mSpot's technology and team for a price estimated in online reports to be less than $10 million.
Samsung said it will pre-install mSpot music, video and radio services in new mobile devices.
"With our combined resources, we are looking forward to redefining media consumption across the mobile universe with cloud services," said mSpot chief executive Daren Tsui.
Analysts agree that digital content and fun applications on smartphones is vital to the popularity of smartphones or tablets in the fiercely competitive gadget market and can be more important to consumers than slick hardware.
MSpot was founded in 2004 and its services include digital lockers for storing music in the Internet "cloud" and online streaming of songs and films.
The company faces heavyweight competition from Google and Amazon.com, which have each offer online music storage and streaming services.
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