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Publishers are Signing up with eBook Subscription Services in Droves

Hot 9689712379_cb6599218a_b[1]on the heels of news that Oyster had signed a trio of publishers comes new reports that their competition is doing the same.

Earlier this week the kid-focused service Epic announced a deal with Capstone Young Readers to add 500 titles to Epic’s current catalog. The new additions include licensed titles from DC Entertainment, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Tony Hawk and Warner Brothers. Epic offers Netflix-style subscription access to nearly 4,000 ebooks for kinds aged 7 to 12 for $9.99 a month, and currently offers an iPad app.

And today the globally-focused Scribd unveiled a deal with Wiley to add 1,000 titles, including For Dummies titles to Scribd’s catalog. The new additions include many of Wiley’s cheaper titles, but not their more expensive books, which can cost $100 or more. Scribd charges $9 a month for access to a catalog of over 300,000 titles which can be read on iPad, Android, iPhone, and in your web browser.

Last but not least Scholastic has surprised no one with their plans to go it alone. This academic and children’s publisher doesn’t get mentioned much in the ebook news much, but in terms of revenue it is actually a larger publisher that a couple of the so called Big 5.

Today they are launching Storia School Edition, a new ebook subscription option for schools. This new service offers 2,000 fiction, nonfiction, and classic titles which are age-appropriate for kids 12 and under. In addition to a balanced library of fiction and nonfiction title, Storia School Edition also includes grade-appropriate dictionaries, comprehension quizzes, pronunciation tools, and highlighting and note-taking tools to help students focus their ideas.

With multiple competitors launching or building up a service, 2014 is promising to be the year of the ebook subscription.

image by melenita2012


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Maria (BearMountainBooks) April 30, 2014 um 3:14 pm

It’s turning out to be much more popular with readers than I expected…

Ebook Bargains UK May 1, 2014 um 3:02 am

As more and more readers grasp the simple fact that the ebook you "buy" from Amazon or Nook or Kobo is not bought at all, but simply licensed to be read, so more readers will turn to subscription services and digital libraries.

The only thing holding back subscription services like Scribd at home is the breadth of content currently on offer, and globally its limited payment options. As content develops so will Scribd’s appeal in the key western markets.

Many indie authors are still eschewing the subscription services (the few that let them in, anyway) but that too will change.

At the moment we are the only ebook promo newsletter regularly carrying Scribd and other subscription service listings. If the big US promo newsletters like Bookbub do so that could boost awareness of Scribd among readers.

Then even the most loyal Amazon customers are going to do the maths and realise that if you read more than a handful of ebooks a month pay-by-book makes no economic sense.

Maria (BearMountainBooks) May 2, 2014 um 10:23 am

I don’t know about "many are eschewing" so much a many go exclusive with Amazon and therefor MUST eschew. I’ve tried a book or two in Amazon exclusive programs and they do okay, but not enough sales to convince me it’s the only place to be. Their countdown feature is nice and generates interest, but I don’t think Amazon actually helps market such things OTHER than putting the countdown display next to the book. (I am doing one now and it’s my first try at it. While the book is doing well I suspect it has more to do with ads that I took out to announce the sale than anything Amazon does/did/didn’t do).

I’m pretty happy being able to list my books at multiple retailers and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm for subscription services. I’ll be leaving my books in there and looking for another route to add books to the services. The current way they are uploaded works for past books but won’t work for future books.

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