Amazon says Kindle owners can lend Harry Potter e-books

SAN FRANCISCO, Thu May 10, 2012 –Amazon.com Inc. said on Thursday owners of its Kindle e-readers and tablets will be able to lend Harry Potter e-books to each other in a move aimed at encouraging more people to use the devices and sign up for its Prime service.

Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, bought an exclusive license from author J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore e-book business to make all seven Harry Potter e-book available to lend through the Kindle platform.

Lending begins June 19 and includes Potter e-books in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Amazon did not say how much it paid for the license, but comments from Chief Executive Jeff Bezos suggested the deal was part of its plans to spend heavily to promote Kindle devices and its Prime service. Prime offers free two-day shipping and video streaming for $79 a year in the United States.

“This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we’ll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners,” Bezos said in a statement.

Purchased

Amazon unveils effort to develop original TV shows

SAN FRANCISCO, Wed May 2, 2012 – Amazon.com Inc. unveiled a new effort to develop original comedy and children’s TV shows to distribute over the company’s video streaming service.

The move is part of a broader push by Amazon to produce its own content, including video and e-books, to sell to its millions of customers over the Internet.

The world’s largest Internet retailer said people will be able to submit ideas for television series to the website of its Amazon Studios unit. Amazon said it will option one new project per month and add it to a development slate where it will be tested for viability with an audience.

Amazon has been spending heavily in recent quarters to add movies and TV shows to its video streaming business, increasing competition with Netflix Inc.

However, both companies are also working on producing their own content from scratch to reduce reliance on big movie studios and TV production companies, which want to be paid well for their work.

Amazon Studios, which was launched in November 2010, accepts movie scripts and asks customers to review the ideas online, using the feedback to choose which project should go ahead.

The unit has received more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts so far, and 15 movie projects are under development.