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• The Wall Street Journal has a story about how Amazon's "all-you-can-read subscription service in Japan was so successful that it had to be sharply scaled back within weeks of its introduction," with more than 1,500 titles being removed from the service.

According to the story, "The Kindle Unlimited service started in Japan in August, offering unlimited reading of hundreds of thousands of Japanese and foreign titles for a monthly fee of ¥980 ($9.60) ... As part of a deal to attract customers to the service, Amazon made contracts with Japanese publishers to pay them a premium through the end of this year when a customer read at least 10% of a book or other content, publishing company officials said. The goal was to get publishers to offer popular content.

"It worked—too well. Since it’s easy for readers to get through the first 10% of a magazine or photo book in just a few minutes, Amazon quickly found itself on the hook for large payments, a person at one publisher said."

Amazon is reported to have sought a renegotiation of its contracts with publishers, who were not interested in any changes. Since it couldn't get new terms, Amazon removed some titles as part of what it called a normal rotation of offerings.

Amazon has not commented specifically on the contretemps with Japanese publishers.
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