Published Early This Week
In our post titled, “Could this be Netflix? “ we wrote, “On our Purpose Page we observed that, “Just as the iPod changed the shape of the music industry, the entire book publishing industry, is on the brink of a paradigm change.” Now, two companies outside book publishing offer unlimited downloads of e-books for a flat monthly fee.” These companies are Oyster and Scribid. The monthly fee is $8.99 and $9.95 respectively.
PRICE vs VALUE
Many would agree that the price of something does not mean its value. Price is the money we pay to acquire something, value is the worth we place on it. Because something is free does not mean it is valueless. Likewise, just because something has a high price does not mean that it has high value. What had this got to do with the price and value of e-books?
When e-books first came to market, the price was significantly cheaper that that of the hard cover print edition. As e-books gained in acceptance and popularity, e-book prices began to creep higher and higher so that there was not a significant difference in the price between the two. Now that the e- book market, especially in the U.S, has become saturated, and consumers have become resistant to the high prices of some of the more popular e-books.
WHAT’S AN E-BOOK PUBLISHER TO DO?
In July 2014 CNET, in an Article titled “Amazon rolls out $9.99 Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription. The new service offers more than 600,000 Kindle e-books and thousands of Audible audiobooks for $9.99 a month,” wrote,
Launched Friday, Kindle Unlimited lets you borrow as many books as you want at a single time from a collection of 600,000 Kindle titles and thousands of Audible audiobooks, with no due dates. Subscribers can find eligible titles by browsing the Kindle book store and looking for any book flashing the Kindle Unlimited logo. Simply click on the “Read for Free” link, and the book becomes available.
E- BOOK SUBSCRIPTIONS – WHOSE GOT WHAT?
In “Update: Subscription eBook Services Compared,” appearing online in The Digital Reader, Nate Hoffelder wrote,
“The following post matches up 5 different services that are available in the US or globally:
Kindle Owner’s Lending library
Oyster offers 500,000 titles, but few are frontlist and few are bestsellers.
Amazon boasts that the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library stocks over 550 thousand titles, most of which were added via KDP Select.
Scribd has a catalog of over 400,000
Kindle Unlimited has 650,000 titles at launch, many of which are also found in KOLL. There are also 7,300 audiobooks.
Bookmate offers 400,000 titles, but they tend to be concentrated in certain markets.
Oyster costs $10 a month for unlimited access.
Kindle Owner’s Lending Library comes as part of an Amazon Prime membership, and in the US that costs $79 per year but includes other extras like free 2 day shipping and free streaming video. You are limited to borrowing a single ebook title each month.
Scribd costs $9 a month for unlimited access.
Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 for unlimited access, but limits you to only having 10 titles at a time.
Bookmate costs $5 a month, which is usually billed through a subscriber’s cellphone company.
Bookmate is technically available globally but the company is concentrating its attention on certain markets: Russia, the Ukraine, Turkey, and Kazakhstan. They plan to expand into Scandinavia and Latin America by the end of 2014.
Oyster launched their pilot with an iPhone app, and later released iPad and Android apps.
Scribd has iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and iPad apps, and you can read in your web browser.
Kindle Owner’s Lending Library is only available on a Kindle.
Kindle Unlimited is available on any Kindle device or app.
Bookmate offers apps for Android and iOS.”
ARE E-BOOK SUBSCRIPTIONS WORTH IT?
Lifehacker wrote, “Is An Ebook Subscription Worth It?”
“As you’d expect, whether or not an ebook subscription is worth it boils down to how many books you tend to read a month, what types of books you read, and the devices for reading you have access to.
All three services offer a free trial membership, so it’s worth checking them out if you’re even slightly interested. Once you do, you can browse the book selection fully and get a better feel for what types of books each service offers. At a glance, Scribd has a lot more self-published books, whereas Oyster seems to have a better selection of popular fiction, and Entitle has a lot of popular fiction and more technical manuals. If there’s a good amount of books available that are on your reading list, and you tend to read at least a book a month, then it’s probably worth trying out until you run out of books.
I like the overall experience of Oyster the most, but it’s iOS only at the moment. The genre categories and overall presentation feel a lot like Netflix, and the experience was pretty fluid compared to Scribd, which was a little clunky at times. Entitle is more of a bare-bones experience comparatively, but the fact you can keep the books is more appealing to people who like to reread a lot.
The book selection is just too limited for me and I’d have to continue buying books on top of having the subscription if I really wanted to read everything. That said, all three of these do a great job of organizing their content in a way that makes it easy to find new books that do interest you, even if they’re not jumping to the top of you must-read charts.
In the end, it really depends on what type of reader you are. If you don’t mind not always getting the exact book you want, a subscription will suit you well. If you’re a little more particular, you might find that the selection just isn’t big enough.”