Digital publishing news and views from the Firsty Group


  • Commentary The Sub way
  • Firsty News Profile Books
  • Firsty News D2C free!
  • Firsty News Facebook Shop
  • Firsty News Frankfurter

Commentary

September 10th, 2014

The sub way


Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service is a reminder that ebook subscriptions are a serious channel now. But should publishers be excited or alarmed?

The eBook subscription model has been a big issue in publishing for a while now, but it has leapt centre stage since Amazon’s launch of Kindle Unlimited in July.

The service offers access to some 600,000 ebooks and 200,000 audiobooks for $9.99 (about £5.95) a month, and has been trumpeted as a Netflix or Spotify style concept for books. Those two services marked step changes for the TV and music industries respectively—so will this bring similar upheaval in publishing?

From a customer’s point of view at least, Kindle Unlimited is good news. The deal appears to be strong value, since for the cost of a single cheap paperback a month, readers will be able to access as many books as they like. Amazon’s promotion of the service has revolved around the ‘Freedom to explore’ message, and the idea of an entire library at the fingertips for free after an upfront cost will appeal to many.

But publishers seem to be viewing it rather differently. The so-called big five—Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster—have been conspicuous by their scepticism so far, and it will be interesting to see whether or not Amazon can tempt them on board. Perhaps the public appeal of Kindle Unlimited will prove so great that they cannot hold out. But Amazon’s very public row with Hachette—covered in this newsletter a couple of months ago—continues to rumble on, and that will make all publishers very wary of signing up to something so big.

Read more



Back to Top ↑
  • Firsty newsletters

  • Firsty newsletter sign up

    Subscribe to our mailing list, and receive our monthly newsletter containing the latest digital publishing news.


  • RSS What others are saying…

    • The NYTimes Uses a Flawed Premise to Argue Against Owning a Paper Book Entitles One to a Digital Copy
      Ever since book scanning became practical (and long before it got cheap) there’s been an ongoing debate over whether possession of a paper copy of a book entitled the owner to also have a digital copy. (As we all recall, this was even the focal point of several major lawsuits against Google over the past decade.) […] The post The NYTimes Uses a Flawed Premis […]
    • HP Cracks the $99 Windows Tablet Barrier with the Stream 7
       HP has just announced a pair of Windows 8 tablets which will cost $99 and up. Launching  just in time to edge out the Toshiba Encore mini as the first of the $99 Windows tablets in the US market, the HP Stream 7 will feature an Intel Atom Z3735G CPU, and it will be matched by the […] The post HP Cracks the $99 Windows Tablet Barrier with the Stream 7 appear […]
    • Tolino to Launch WaterProof Vision eBook Reader at Frankfurt Book Fair
      Move over Aura H2O, there’s a new waterproof ereader about to hit the market. Unconfirmed reports are coming out of Germany today that Tolino will be launching a new waterproof Vision ebook reader at the Frankfurt Book Fair next week. Few details are known about the new Vision, but lesen.net is reporting that it will cost the same as […] The post Tolino to L […]
    • Simon & Schuster Signs Deal With Mofibo, But Not Kindle Unlimited
      Simon & Schuster may have just given us a clue about their interests in the subscription ebook market, and just who they want to work with. The Bookseller is reporting that S&S has cut a deal with the small Scandinavian ebook subscription service Mofibo. The full terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it […] The post Simon & Schuster Sign […]