Though Amazon tried this idea once before without much success, the company has decided that sending out ARCs to hand-picked customer reviewers is a good thing, Ergo, Amazon Vine, which will “help our vendors generate awareness for new and pre-release products by connecting them with the voice of the Amazon community: our reviewers. Vine members, called Voices, may request free copies of items enrolled in the program and have the ability to share their opinions before these products become generally available.” The folks at LibraryThing note similarities to its own early release program.
Also, Marketwatch reports that Amazon will offer an online payments service that could compete with similar services from eBay and Google. Web services evangelist Jeff Barr said in a blog post that the company is formally introducing Amazon Flexible Payments Service, or FPS, which is intended to let developers build secure payment systems for their Internet sales. “As of this post FPS is now in a limited beta,” Barr said, adding however that “the entire payment system is fully functional.”