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Old 02-03-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
vrodbrad
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Good day everyone,

I would like people's opinion on a project that I am working on in my college class which is small business management. The business idea that my group came up with, is creating a membership site where people like your selves can download as many ebooks as they want per month, quarterly, yearly, or lifetime as long as their membership was current. The pricing would be set at for a one month membership at 29.99. During that month the individual could download the books he wants for a set price instead of paying for each book individually. Now just to let everyone know this would all have to be done Legally as my Professor stated so people will not have to worry about pirated books, which I despise piracy anyway for it takes away money from people who deserve it.

So here are my question for you

Would you buy ebooks at a set price, instead of individually

I would appreciate peoples opinion and will take any and all advice, so I can better help my group so that we can our business model succeeds in class.

thank you for your time reading this

Brad
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:31 AM   #2
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If ebooks are in the public domain, why would we pay a subscription fee to obtain them when they could be gotten for free.

Unless you have the distribution rights (for all geographical areas of your target market) I don't see how you can offer copyrighted ebooks on a subscription basis.

Are you talking about independent authors?
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:32 AM   #3
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Since paperbacks can be had for $8 each your price is approximatly four books worth per month, thats a bit high for me. As far as pirated books go that's why book stores buy their inventory from publishers or directly from the authors not from individuals. From the authors only if they can prove that they are infact the author. When you buy your inventory from these sorces you can pretty much be assured that there is nothing pirated in there.

Have you looked at your competition? websubscriptions.net. Have you looked at the pricing models for others that are doing similar things, such as netflix? Don't reinvent the wheel simply examine the wheel others have built and adapt it for yourself. I think that you should look at copying netflix's wheel and adapt it for yourself.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:02 PM   #4
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You'd have to convince me that the quality of your books is worth the price. You're talking about imaginary books for your business model. I won't buy (or rent) imaginary books, lol. I can't tell whether such a rental service is worthwhile without seeing book summaries or samples.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
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Good luck getting books from major publishers to buy into this scheme. Most independent author publish for lower prices on sites like Smashwords, Amazon digital books (I forget what they changed the name to), or their own web site. Not much point for books like that. As Wetdogeared said, public domain needs nothing like this, since they are already available.

You need to explain more what kinds of books you envision providing, and why your price is set as it is. $29.99 seems high. A lot of people only read a couple of books a month, so that would be more expensive than paying Agency prices.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by vrodbrad View Post
The business idea that my group came up with, is creating a membership site where people like your selves can download as many ebooks as they want per month, quarterly, yearly, or lifetime as long as their membership was current. The pricing would be set at for a one month membership at 29.99. During that month the individual could download the books he wants for a set price instead of paying for each book individually.
You say "download", but do the downloads expire if my membership lapses? How do you implement such a restriction on the books that makes them inaccessible? How do you make this work on current ereaders, and on each different brand of ereader? I've seen this model with Disney books, but those are accessed through a web browser, not an ereader.

If the books don't expire, I could sign up for one month, download everything I wanted, then cancel my subscription?

Last edited by queentess; 02-03-2011 at 12:17 PM. Reason: add url
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:22 PM   #7
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And as some others have noted, I have concerns about the books you'd be able to get for such a model. Publishers are not going to let a small student group lease books, which means you'd have to use public domain (which are currently free) or indie authors (some of whom are fantastic, but they are somewhat untried and do not have the backing of a traditional publisher). I've seen some of the dreck that's published on Smashwords (because they allow anyone to publish), and there's no guarantee of quality. I wouldn't pay $30/month for that.

And $30/month seems high to me as well. I used to read about 4 books/month, but since I have a toddler who now takes up much of my free time, I'm down to about 2 books/month. I won't pay $15/ea for books that I may or may not get to keep. My limit for ebooks I do get to keep is about $10 for well-known well-loved authors and about $5 for untried authors who have very good reviews or were recommended to me.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:33 PM   #8
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Where are you going to get the books from?
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:42 PM   #9
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Queen Tess makes a good point, however its not real dificult to strip DRM from an ebook. My recommendation is to look at the methods that Blockbuster and Nuvu are using for this problem. Both companies will let you download a movie for a certain period of time then its eliminated from your collection. Trouble is that Nuvu and Blockbuster are renting per movie and you are renting per month so Nuvu and Blockbuster's modles need to be adapted for your use.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:43 PM   #10
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Where would you get the books? How would you guarantee quality? Would you be able to get different formats of ebooks? What about DRM, would you use it or not? Would it be like the library where the DRM means the book "expires" after a certain amount of time or would access be unlimited? Would I be buying books or renting? If renting what would the rental period be? Would you have a tiered pricing structure like Netflix? I only get one video at a time from them so don't pay as much as someone who gets four or five at a time. Sounds like I'm raining on your parade but I really do wish you good luck with this if you get all of the bugs worked out.
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Old 02-03-2011, 12:47 PM   #11
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Can we clarify something? Are you actually intending to set up a business, or is this a class exercise? If it's the latter, I don't think that many people are going to want to spend their time helping you out with your homework .
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Old 02-03-2011, 01:35 PM   #12
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Can we clarify something? Are you actually intending to set up a business, or is this a class exercise? If it's the latter, I don't think that many people are going to want to spend their time helping you out with your homework .
I assumed it's similar to my Master's homework, where your group has to actually create the business and run it for a short time, then report results. I could be wrong though And I enjoy helping raise questions that students may not have considered. Takes me very little time and promotes discussion.
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:26 PM   #13
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I'll answer assuming we are talking hypotheticals here...

If signing up would let me download books to keep permanently, and you somehow would get books from major publishers, I might sign up for a month, and download whatever sounded in any way interesting.

If it's "read what you want as long as you are signed up with us", that is, no accessing the books when I stop paying... no. That would be worth at most $5 per month to me (which is six times as much as the local library charges).

If we're talking public domain/indie authors... ergh. Maybe. If you had a lot of indie authors, maybe. But closer to $5 per month than $29.99. (Apologies to indie authors, but on sites where anyone can publish, there really are more books I couldn't stand to read for poor editing, requiring more time for digging... so I'd rather dig through free partial samples and give the good indie authors money.)

Ah, the website jbcohen meant is http://www.webscription.net/

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Old 02-03-2011, 02:41 PM   #14
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Thank you all for the input. First for the class we have to right up a business plan and this is not to start up an actual business. Where we would get the books would be from publishers and authors. We would not have DRM restrictions and all books would be able to work on all devices. The books the individual would be able to keep even if their membership expired for they paid the money to keep them. As said this is just for a class project only and would not be for a actual start up business. As far as how much it is per month I was just surmising the cost for my wife reads an average of 15 books a month (using that price would save me money ha ha). for quality the ebooks would be in the current formats being used by all reader models. Again I thank you all for your honest opinions and you all brought up great points.

Sincerely,
Brad
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:54 PM   #15
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I'm going to pick this apart, because I don't think it's feasible...

Quote:
Originally Posted by vrodbrad View Post
Where we would get the books would be from publishers and authors.
How will you convince the publishers to sell through you?
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Originally Posted by vrodbrad View Post
We would not have DRM restrictions
How will you convince the publishers to agree to this? This is a very big question, because most "mainstream" publishers are not ready for drm-free files yet. Baen is one exception, but they cater to a very niche genre.
Quote:
Originally Posted by vrodbrad View Post
and all books would be able to work on all devices.
ePub and mobi should cover most readers, but one file will not work on all devices. There is no standard yet.

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Originally Posted by vrodbrad View Post
The books the individual would be able to keep even if their membership expired for they paid the money to keep them.
I would sign up for one month, download several hundred books, then cancel. You will never get publishers or authors to agree to this. It wouldn't be profitable for anyone, including your theoretical business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vrodbrad View Post
As said this is just for a class project only and would not be for a actual start up business.
I assume your professor will want a plan that could work? This can't work unless you're able to solve some of the questions I've raised here. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I don't see a way to do it.
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