Monday, July 11, 2011

Ebook subscription models

Angry Robot, a UK sci-fi press, is doing what Big Six publishers should have done five years ago. It's launched a discounted subscription model for ebooks. Over 12 months, you get 24 books at a savings of more than a dollar per title. That's not knocking it out of the park, but it's a bargain for loyal customers, and Angry Robot also provides an out in case people want to cancel (customers pay full price for any book they downloaded up to the point of cancellation). It not only seems workable, it is smart business and I expect it to proliferate.

In fact, last year I predicted Amazon would be going to a subscription option for Kindle books, mirroring its Prime program for movie downloads. The kicker will be how many downloads you get--if it's only one book at a time, it will be like a Netflix model, where maybe you check out one premium book while other, less-popular titles are freely available at any time. No word yet on how authors get paid under the discounted model, but I'd assume their percentage would be the same (with the publisher making the case that they will sell more books at the lower prices). I'll be digging more into this in my next Indie Reader column.


Lindsay said...

I'd be more interested in signing up if it was through Amazon (so you could check out anything in the Kindle store) rather than through a single publisher, but it could be worth checking into if you're a big reader.

author Scott Nicholson said...

Publishers have probably blown their chance already, Lindsay--it would have been a lot more effective back when they had virtual monopolies. Six publishers with most of the books. They could have really cut into Amazon's ebook foundation, the very thing that is killing them now.