The literary world (particularly the one online) is no stranger to the concept of “subscription models” – services where readers pay flat fees monthly for unlimited access to the platform’s book titles. The cost of subscriptions is attractive to avid readers; they get more books for the price of a single paperback.
Thanks to the digital book landscape, readers, publishers, and authors alike live in Kindle Unlimited, Oyster, and Scribd. The subscription model affects these three platforms in various ways. While the full impact is yet to be seen, here’s an overview:
More Revenue for Authors, Publishers?
Authors and publishers rely on up-to-date solutions from companies such as MetaComet® Systems, Inc., to stay on track with royalties. Royalty payment calculators are a big help, especially with the subscription model’s way of generating income.
Traditional models pay publishers per book while authors receive contracted royalty rates per sold book. In subscription models, whenever readers reach a certain number of pages, publishers get unit sales from the subscription. Authors also receive contracted e-book royalties from each sale.
The Backlist Selection
A large number of titles available on subscription models fall under the backlist category. But with a front list window posted every now and then, these platforms still offer bestsellers to interested readers. Since popular books and authors encourage people to subscribe, subscription models continue to woo the biggest publishers. When they strike a successful deal, big books and authors serve as potential bargaining chips in the future.
An Upside for Discovery
For fast and avid readers, subscription books are the go-to options. Anyone who reads more than a couple of books monthly benefits greatly from the low costs of subscribing, despite the limited selection.
Before it ceased operations in 2016, e-book subscription services Oyster had good words for the model. At an Author’s Guild event, Editorial Director Kevin Nguyen offers a renewed discovery for titles. The modest cost of subscriptions encourages readers to explore into various genres of books and authors they have never tried.
The growing number of title counts, however, sees newer book promotions beneficial for discovery.
Subscription models continue to change how authors, publishers, and readers see books. But whatever the impact is, it is all for the good of each area.