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Old 03-14-2011, 08:46 PM   #1
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Netflix Model for Books?

I'm new to the eReader thing but I do think that eBooks, especially popular ones, are a bit too expensive. Don't get me wrong, I love my Kobo thus far and love getting the free PD eBooks and checking out eBooks from my library so I'll have a lot to read without spending a lot of money. I mean, I love Jasper Fforde but his latest Thursday book is almost $13.

Anyway, do you think that, eventually, someone will come up with a Netflix for eBooks? I think I would like that. I love my instant Netflix. I suppose libraries kind of sort of do that but not to the extent I'm thinking of. Do you guys think it could happen and would you want it to?
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:02 PM   #2
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Really it's more a matter of it being worth it for the publishers. Right now they don't seem amenable to the idea. Remember they base the vast majority of their income on hardback sales. There is a thread here in the last few days that posted a link to a graphic detailing the very surprising revenue difference between ebook and hardback sales. I'll find it an post a link to the thread. It had some questionable data as I remember but the gist was to highlight the current differential. It's HUGE but ebooks are new and nobody has any idea where they are going in the future.

Something to ponder is it seems that in the mind of the publisher every ebook sale is a lost hardback sale. I am not certain this is true as many here buy both if it's a good book. People do collect first editions so ebooks might give publishers a chance to go back to really high quality first editions like once upon a time. But for now publishers seem to be unwilling as well as unable to move to an ebook centric business model.

I am sure avid readers would love a subscription type model. Odds are it will not be an all you can eat model as one can download all day and night. More likely it would be something like Audible where there is a monthly cost in exchange for x-credits to use as you please in the book store.

It's a nice idea but I am not sure it would be too popular in the long run since reading is very different from listening to books or watching video content.

There is a thread discussing the potential of free Kindles in exchange for some sort of subscription commitment but it's all speculation at this point.

No matter what we have to remember that publishers have a fixed overhead and their current business models have been constructed with this current model in mind. So, it is going to be years until the big publishers are able to shed some of there, often incestuous, overhead and infrastructure. So, no changes until ebooks begin to dominate sales. I send one reason for the move to agency pricing is this inability to adapt to the new market forces. Basically they are dinosaurs.
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:04 PM   #3
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The studios are trying hard to kill, or at least neutralize, Netflix. I don't think the publishers want to head down that road. $10-$12 bucks a month to read all the books you have time to? That sounds worse than that library scam!

http://www.usindustrialnews.com/2011...ng-it-useless/
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:35 PM   #4
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I don't buy movies anymore, I use Netflix though. Did you know one Netflix account can be used to stream movies to multiple devices in different locations? That's pretty nice of Netflix.

Why would I need to buy a movie (digital file) for 15 dollars when all I really want is access to the movie whenever I need access to it, which is usually just once but occasionally more often.

I would pay a nominal fee for access to a publisher's back catalog, especially if that fee came with access to a few new books each month, with options for purchasing more new books at slightly reduced rates.

For the scheme to be completely effective, the publisher must also be the distributor.

What IF?

Amazon decided to place all of its Direct Publishing Authors into a pool, and then charged an admissions fee to read from the pool, splitting up the fees collected between all of the authors in the pool?

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Old 03-14-2011, 09:59 PM   #5
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only thing I see as an issue on a monthly fee/subscription model is that it only seems reasonable for there to be a limit on number of titles a person can download. Otherwise you could d/l 24/7/365 and get the entire catalog in short order.

Basically I would sense somewhere around $6-$8/mo for 3-4 titles such as you describe. Obviously bigger titles might have an extra cost beyond the monthly download credit. Would this be worth it to Amazon or the authors? Dunno, but given Amazon has now been running Audible for a number of years they have some insight into the dynamics and economics of a subscription model.

I suspect sometime in the coming year we might see a bundle type deal from Amazon which includes video, audio (maybe but including Audible as well) and ebooks. Much will depend on whatever Android tablets they can get on-board with such a deal. I could see, as many have suggested, but see it bundled with Amazon Prime and a free or lowered cost device of the user's choice be it an Amazon slate device, Kindle or other brand device. I could see a data plan being an option as well. In fact I suspect Amazon might try and put out a device which can attach to any 3G/4G network in your area depending on the plan you have. Of course wifi as well.

I just see it all as interrelated.
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Old 03-14-2011, 10:06 PM   #6
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only thing I see as an issue on a monthly fee/subscription model is that it only seems reasonable for there to be a limit on number of titles a person can download. Otherwise you could d/l 24/7/365 and get the entire catalog in short order.
We can already download close to the entire catalog from the torrent sites, if the publishers want to continue to function in the new era, they need to get ahead of the curve.

Full access to the entire back catalog for free, nominal monthly charge for new books, newsletter, author interviews etc..

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Old 03-14-2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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I can see them moving toward something like Overdrive for Pay. You get access to the whole catalogue, and you can either pay a dollar and rent the book for 30 days (after which point the Overdrive DRM expires it) or pay full retail price for a non-expiring version.
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Old 03-14-2011, 11:19 PM   #8
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I can see them moving toward something like Overdrive for Pay. You get access to the whole catalogue, and you can either pay a dollar and rent the book for 30 days (after which point the Overdrive DRM expires it) or pay full retail price for a non-expiring version.
Renting a book is essentially the same as purchasing. Excepting special cases i.e reference manuals i.e.e OED

Any scheme other than payment for book or books with full resale rights for said books is unacceptable and will be undone.

There is massive amounts of money to be made in the new era, (copyright free world) It might not all be stored in the coffers of the big 6 or the big 5 or the big anyone, but that is a good thing yes??

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Old 03-14-2011, 11:48 PM   #9
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remember when thinking about this that there must be incentive for the publish, the retailer and the author (see publisher for the self-published) to look at this sort of option.

I don't believe ebooks have achieved the critical mass needed to move to a rental sort of deal. And remember most people will read a book once maybe twice in their entire life. I am not that way but from the other thread it's pretty clear most never will. So given that case there is no real reason to move to a rental based model because there just does not seem to be a business reason to do so.

Once everyone has a reading device then there may be a valid reason. I am looking at MP3 players as a model. It was not until everyone on the planet had or had access to MP3 players with huge storage capacities that prices dropped on the content. I have to believe the same will happen with books. It won't be until everyone is reading again that this sort of move will make sense if done by itself. As part of a collection of services, say Amazon, books might just be a throw-in.

Remember Amazon makes a ton off their book sales and even they will need to show increased profit from the sale of ebooks. Rentals will likely decrease the revenue and bottom line. It's hard to say is decreasing the price of books will actually get more people to read more often. MP3's at a buck a song seemed to be the tipping point but everyone had to have that MP3 player to make it work. Even if everyone owns a reader it won't necessarily mean they will want to read or to read more than the already do. Of course the magpie sorts will gobble up all they can because that is who they are and can't help it.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:38 AM   #10
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I can see a genre publisher like Harlequin offering a subscription bundle service comparable to eMusic.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:55 AM   #11
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I can see a genre publisher like Harlequin offering a subscription bundle service comparable to eMusic.
That's rather limited. eMusic doesn't limit themselves to just one record label.

I could be wrong, but I can't see people signing up for multiple subscription plans in order to get a wider selection.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:01 AM   #12
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I could be wrong, but I can't see people signing up for multiple subscription plans in order to get a wider selection.
I wouldn't do it so you're right. I like one subscription plan for each media type, occassionally I'll have more but only for limited times to determine which plan is best.

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Old 03-15-2011, 03:34 AM   #13
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Anyway, do you think that, eventually, someone will come up with a Netflix for eBooks?
Yes, they are called "Public Libraries".

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I suppose libraries kind of sort of do that
Indeed they do.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:52 AM   #14
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only thing I see as an issue on a monthly fee/subscription model is that it only seems reasonable for there to be a limit on number of titles a person can download. Otherwise you could d/l 24/7/365 and get the entire catalog in short order.
And then? You can download all these titles and many more lifetimes' worth of reading from the darknet already.

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Obviously bigger titles might have an extra cost beyond the monthly download credit.
Why would that be "obvious"?
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Old 03-15-2011, 04:09 AM   #15
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Re: Harlequin

It appears that they do have subscriptions:

http://ebooks.eharlequin.com/C3D9031...iptionInfo.htm
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