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wewillsurviveAmazon this morning launched a new program called “Kindle First” that gives customers the ability to buy and download selected books one month before their official release date.

It provides an added bonus for Amazon Prime members, who will get one free book a month under the program, in addition to the existing benefits of Amazon’s $79/year subscription program. People who aren’t Prime members will be able to choose one of the Kindle First books to purchase each month for $1.99. Each user can buy or download only one of the Kindle First books each month.

The program is part of Amazon’s ongoing attempt to upend the traditional publishing industry. However, based on the initial selection, it’s limited for now to books released by Amazon Publishing, and selected by the company’s editors. The major U.S. book publishers aren’t participating.

The first four Kindle First books are …

  • We Will Survive: True Stories of Encouragement, Inspiration, and the Power of Song, by Gloria Gaynor;
  • Things We Set on Fire, by Deborah Reed;
  • No Place for a Dame, by romance author Connie Brockway;
  • Silent Echo, by mystery author J.R. Rain;

Amazon says books downloaded under the Kindle First program become part of the users’ permanent library. (Separately, Amazon Prime members with Kindle devices also can borrow one book a month under the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library program, but those books have to be ‘returned’, unlike the Kindle First books.)

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