#FutureChat recap: A busy workout in the subscription debate

Image - iStockphoto: jon11
Image – iStockphoto: jon11

“There is much to unpack here.”

That line from The Bookseller’s Philip Jones in his lead editorial Friday may have been the understatement of the week.

Articles and essays, blog posts and comments continue to proliferate around the many issues in the digital book subscription debate, of course.

One of the points made by Rachel Deahl at Publishers Weekly on Friday — as our FutureBook community gathered to exchange ideas on the matter — is indicative of some of the heat around the issue. Deahl notes that both Scribd and Oyster launched their offerings last year, but “it wasn’t until the July 18 launch of Kindle Unlimited (KU), Amazon’s e-book subscription service, that pundits and media outlets began parsing what these new business models mean for the future of books.”

One of those who joined us in #FutureChat Friday, Eric Hellman of Gluejar and Unglue.It, told Matt Enis of the US-based Library Journal’s Digital Shift that libraries — offering free ebook loans as they do to patrons — might indeed be seen as competition to paid subscription services.:

It’s clear that Amazon sees ‘free’ as its competition in the ebook space. And yes, libraries occupy space in the ebook market that Amazon wants for itself.

And yet another speaker in Enis’ article, Sarah Houghton, director of the San Rafael, California, public library told Enis:

From a library perspective, Kindle Unlimited seems unlikely to affect demand for library materials at all. Six hundred thousand titles is not a lot. Our library participates in Link+, a cooperative lending project that makes tens of millions of titles from libraries across California and Nevada available in print to our communities—at no charge to them.

Jane Litte at Dear Author has produced a helpful comparative look at the Oyster, Scribd and Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriptions from the consumer’s point of view, wryly noting that at the time of a 2011 consideration of the subject, “I was willing to pay $25 a month at the time! No so much now.”

Read the full article at TheFutureBook

Join us each Friday for a #FutureChat session with The Bookseller’s FutureBook community. We’ll be live on Twitter, at 4 p.m. London time, 11 a.m. New York time, 8 a.m. Los Angeles, 5 p.m. Berlin, 3 p.m. GMT. 

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

The FutureBook: #FutureChat recap: A busy workout in the subscription debate

Read the full post at: The Bookseller’s The FutureBook



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