Amazon on Thursday rolled out a micropayments program for books in an attempt to do for literature what Apple has done for music. Under the company's new Amazon Pages program, readers can purchase online access to as much or as little of a book as they'd like -- a chapter or even a single page. A second program, dubbed Amazon Upgrade, allows readers to add complete, perpetual online access to the purchase of a physical copy of a book.
Obviously I'm missing something big here because to me it sounds like Amazon are now planning to charge for something that you get for free in a bookshop: reading a few pages before you buy the book. This has always been the one obvious advantage of physical shops over the online ones and now Amazon appears to be making it worse!
I wonder, however, if Amazon might fall foul of the same fair use rulings that scuppered MP3.com. Here the court ruled that the site did not have the right to distribute the artists work even though both MP3.com and the user had seperately bought the work.