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Old 05-15-2011, 05:14 PM   #16
Worldwalker
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I prefer to keep my books. I'm one of those weirdos who reads favorite books over and over again. Paying to rent them just doesn't do it for me.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:14 PM   #17
murraypaul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant
O'Reilly's Safari books does seem to be working. I suspect that is because of the technical content. But perhaps I'm wrong. People will certainly try to do subscription services for fiction, so we'll see.
Another difference with Safari is that a significant proportion of the subscribers aren't actually paying out of their own pockets. That always inflates the price you can charge.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:31 PM   #18
CHunter_Author
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Nah...I'll stick with the library for the big names, and continue to buy( and own) reasonably priced e-books.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:11 PM   #19
taosaur
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Originally Posted by Andrew H. View Post
I think the question you have to ask with a subscription service is why the publishers/authors would offer it. For it to work, there has to be some value added for the publisher/author above what they get under the existing system.
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Similarly, I don't see a rhapsody or e-music type subscription model working because I don't see how the authors/publishers can make any money from it - it would basically just cannibalize sales.
A big part of the appeal of these systems is that they don't "cannibalize sales," but increase exposure for most entrants to the system. The biggest authors and publishers may be able to afford to go it alone, though in books more than music, it's hardly a certainty. What's more certain is that a subscriber is going to download their 2-3 books per month, where they may otherwise have bought one book every month or six weeks, or obtained the work entirely outside your profit model.

What happens psychologically when these subscription offers are on the market is that people who spend any money whatsoever on your medium know they could be spending less per item with your service, even if they wouldn't normally purchase that many items in the same time frame, and at the same time those who are skirting your profit model entirely see a reasonable option for obtaining the work legitimately. Find that sweet spot and, even if Ken Follet and Stephen King don't sign up, you're guaranteed a sizable niche that will become more attractive to content providers over time.
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:31 PM   #20
ebusinesstutor
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I too, read books over and over again, so I would need a subscription where I could do that.

I do use Netflix and it is great. Something like this for ebooks would be useful if the catalog was large enough of my favorite genres (science fiction and fantasy) and if the price was reasonable - $8 to $30 per month.
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Old 05-15-2011, 07:43 PM   #21
stonetools
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I too, read books over and over again, so I would need a subscription where I could do that.
Well, its not all or nothing. If I want a book that I will read over and over, I buy a pbook. Rentals are for the beach reading type books that you will read once and never crack again.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:28 AM   #22
mr ploppy
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Originally Posted by stonetools View Post
Well people borrow library ebooks. It kind of depends on whether your subscription model is a "buy" model (you keep the book ala Book of the Month Club ) or a rent model ( a la Netflix). Price would be different too.

You should probably not explicitly mention the TTCBRD, unless you want more hysterical rants and another closed thread.
I think it would be difficult not to for the same reasons as other forms of DRM.

I can't really see an all you can read subscription working. It would need to be priced at a level that would put off casual readers, and with reading being such a minority interest it wouldn't have enough hardcore readers to sustain it.

Book clubs, they only really worked because of the introductory offer of free (or as near as matters) books. Most people would have cancelled them as soon as the minimum term was over and then signed up for a new deal. With ebooks, there's no shortage of free ones (both legal and otherwise) to choose from so that incentive has gone.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:49 AM   #23
rhadin
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A little more than a year ago, I proposed a subscription system for university presses in Can eBooks Save University Presses? I think university presses would be an ideal place to experiment with a subscription model. Readers who buy UP titles are generally willing to pay more for a book because of its specialty interest. If a subscription model works with these buyers, then it might work with the general fiction reader; however, if it doesn't work with UP readers, I would think it unlikely to work with general fiction readers who are more price sensistive.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:24 AM   #24
John F
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post
...

I can't really see an all you can read subscription working. It would need to be priced at a level that would put off casual readers, and with reading being such a minority interest it wouldn't have enough hardcore readers to sustain it.

...
Why wouldn't they want casual readers?
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:58 AM   #25
pdurrant
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Why wouldn't they want casual readers?
It's not that they wouldn't want them, but if you priced it at a level that would attract casual readers (say, <1 book a month), it would be far too good a bargain for high-volume readers (say, >10 books a month)
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:58 AM   #26
jbcohen
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Heavy reader here I'll buy the plan but not at anything over $50 a month.

Perfer an electronic version of the book of the month clubs, same price, same books, same everything - shipping.

Last edited by jbcohen; 05-16-2011 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 05-16-2011, 09:14 AM   #27
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I personally like Baen's webscription model. This has been running for a number of years now. At U$18 per month for 6 ebooks, it is doubtful you would get better value for money, providing you are into SF of course.

I re-read books as well and the argument of buying a paperback bloody well defeats buying ebooks in the first place.

I would never consider $100 per month for a subscription service period. So close, but so far....
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:24 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
I must admit, I'm rather surprised that wescription.net haven't done something like this. I'd sign up for automatic payment of monthly webscriptions for a slight discount on the (now) $18/month.
It actually took me a while to understand that they don't do that with WebScriptions.<G> Given the name, that's what I thought was involved.

I also would willing pay a (slightly reduced) price for automatic enrollment and purchase for the monthly WebScription. We should really push Toni for something like that.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:32 AM   #29
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I also like the webscription model, except that I am not thrilled about the serialization format. Just let me have 6 ebooks for $18 a month and I'll be completely happy.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:53 AM   #30
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Of course , before a successful movie rental model was established, there wasn't a movie rental business.
Sure there was--you just had to rent use of theater space at the same time. Movies had a long history of "pay to view this once, in a time & place of our choosing." While books have occasionally had pay-per-month libraries, and romance publishers in particular have managed subscription models (and kept prices low because of them), there's never been a widespread "pay to access this a limited number of times" model for books.

Quote:
We just don't have the right model right. We know people are willing to borrow books for a while: there's no reason in principle why they wouldn't borrow books for a fee if they could borrow any book they liked, anytime they liked, rather than just the collection available at their local library.
Well, sure, if you can offer that... how would you expect to offer "any book they like?" Rowling doesn't want her books available as ebooks. The Perry Mason novels are stuck in copyright limbo. Textbook publishers want 2/3 of the print price for a 4-month rental. Two of the Agency 6 companies don't currently release anything digital to libraries.

I can think of two movies, off the top of my head, that I have on VCR but don't exist digitally, and three more that I want but have never been released on tape; I can list hundreds of books that don't have digital formats. And a lot of publishers don't want to license books to be loaned out; they tolerate physical libraries because they can't stop them, but they refuse to accept any distribution system that isn't "one user, one payment."

The majority of the Agency 6 ebooks can't be loaned one time, to one person, for two weeks; what makes you think they'd be willing to accept a few pennies per reader on a subscription plan? (Any cost more than "a few cents per book--maybe a dollar per book" is going to fall flat. I don't pay an average of a dollar per book now, and I already have more to read than I can keep up with.)

I like Shatzkin's article, but I think he's got the pricing wrong; I think more than $20/month is a recipe for failure. Or maybe success for a tiny book club, but it won't sweep the internet as the new economic model.

If we can pay less $10/month for all the movies we can watch, why would we pay five times that much for a much more limited range of content? And badly-formatted content as well?
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