Updated: The Blloon is Deflating – It’s Shutting Down Its Subscription eBook Service
Do you know that report about ebook subscription services doing great in Germany? I think we need to take it with a grain of salt (also a couple shots of gin).
The news won’t be officially announced until tomorrow, but word has already leaked out on Twitter that a Berlin-based ebook subscription service is going belly up. Blloon subscribers are reporting and a rep has confirmed that Blloon, the subscription ebook service that spun off of txtr in 2014, is shutting down.
Edit: The official word, as of Friday, is that the service is on hiatus.
Blloon reps aren’t answering any questions at this time, so we are left with more questions than answers at this time, but we do know that:
Blloon launched last year with a limited ebook subscription service that more closely resembled buying credits at Audible than Scribd or Kindle Unlimited. Readers could pay so many pounds and get a credit that would let them read a book (this was not a sale – that would be Entitle). Subscribers could also earn additional credits through engaging with Blloon on social networks.
Update: But apparently that model didn’t work. The Bookseller reports that "in June this year Blloon moved to an unlimited model, allowing customers to read an unlimited number of books for £7.99 a month". That cost Blloon a couple publishers, which likely contributed to the decline.
Initially available in the UK, Blloon was supposed to expand into Germany and the US early this year. I can’t find any evidence that expansion occurred, which helps explain why Blloon is shutting down.
It just didn’t have enough customers to keep going. Even though it did get some coverage both in the digital publishing press and on tech blogs,Blloon just couldn’t attract enough attention.
Blloon was launched by the same folks that launched txtr in 2009 only to abandon txtr when it was in the early stages of bankruptcy last year. (Txtr went bankrupt in January 2015, and was acquired by a German media retailer in April 2015.)
There’s no news yet on what’s going to happen to Blloon. While there is a chance that it could be acquired like Oyster was by Google, it’s far more likely that the service will simply shut down.
image by Mount Rainier NPS