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Simon & Schuster Launches Serial Romance eBook App Designed to Make Readers Crave More

As Scribd learned to its dismay, romance readers are the most voracious, often powering through one or more books a day.

Now Simon & Schuster may have found a way to turn that to their advantage. On Monday S&S announced the launch of Crave, a new service that serves up daily does of popular romance novels.

crave app simon schuster

Currently only available for the iPhone, Crave sends readers a segment a day from their favorite romance authors. Each installment arrive automatically, and comes with instant notifications, videos, and photos from the lead character.  The text is displayed as a single scroll, and not as pages, and there are no options like bookmark, sharing, etc, but on the upside the aforementioned videos and photos are embedded in the text for your enjoyment.

“Today’s romance reader isn’t satisfied with simply reading a story,” said best-selling author Colleen Hoover. “She wants to be immersed in it. She wants to get closer to the characters and she wants to have a relationship with them and with author that created them.”

The service launched this week with Colleen Hoover’s  November 9, which was published last month (and can be bought for $8). More titles will be added as time goes on, and eventually Simon & Schuster plans to start collecting a subscription fee (there’s available no info on the cost).

If S&S is smart they will keep the cost as low as possible, and possibly even charge no fee at all.

There are many ebook subscription services, and there’s even one that sends you daily installments for $5 a month. The market doesn’t need another such service, and what’s more readers will be hard put to justify spending their limited budget on a monthly fee to S&S when they could get far more content in Kindle Unlimited for $9 a month.

That’s why it might be better to turn this into a promo service which teases readers with books in the hopes that they will go buy the book elsewhere.

With its daily installments, Crave is already set up to tempt readers, so all it would take to turn this app into a pure marketing service would be links at the end of each segment which lead to ebookstores where the ebook can be bought.

If you found a compelling ebook, wouldn’t you be tempted too go buy it rather than wait for the next installment?

I would not be tempted to buy a romance title, but I could be tempted into buying an SF ebook if I found it through a service like Crave.

How about you?


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Dude December 5, 2015 um 9:00 pm

Yeah, sci fi I might.

Syn December 6, 2015 um 4:07 am

I read romance but it doesn’t interest me. I do sub to kindle unlimited.

Amber December 6, 2015 um 12:31 pm

I read romance and have zero interest in something like that. I can’t see where a short segment of a story would satisfy me when I can read a full book in a day. Also what would be the point of a serialized story for a reader if the full story was already available to buy? The free samples of the first chapter of a book that most stores offer or buying the book would be cheaper than paying a subscription fee and then waiting forever to actually get the full story.

I also can’t think of a worse way to get me immersed in a story that to break it up into parts so I have to start and stop reading a story. Also stick cutsy videos/photos in it isn’t going to help keep me reading the story but break me out of it. I do think photos, videos, and interaction segments is great in educational books and non-fiction but pretty terrible in a romance book.

They would do better to offer this a promo service for books that they are going to release in the near future. A sneak peak of up coming releases to gauge which books are catching on and which ones aren’t.

Candide December 7, 2015 um 5:50 am

I actually think it’s a great concept – for die-hard genre fans this daily 'connection' to a favourite author (and I assume familiar characters from a best-selling series) is definitely something I see readers paying for. There are one or two Fantasy authors I follow religiously who serialize new content on their own websites for free which I know I and many other fans are happy to pay for. Free books and Kindle Unlimited offering just doesn’t compare when the author or series has an established following and having one of the big publishers backing this means you’re getting brand name content. From the author’s perspective I would think this could be a hassle though – I know many authors resist publisher pressure to release novellas in between series releases and extending that pressure into daily/weekly content I assume would not help!

Carolyn Jewel December 9, 2015 um 3:28 pm

A lot of this sounds great to me. Except the monitization concept. That seems deeply flawed for all the reasons noted. But this will likely include only the same old inclusion criteria and therefore won’t have enough content to interest the voracious. If I were trad pubbed I’d sure be worried about author compensation.

Joe December 15, 2015 um 9:19 pm

earlier commenters – be sure to watch

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