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Distinguished Scribe
gb18
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Registered: ‎12-06-2010

Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?

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bobstro
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?

Another good article, GB. I'm watching the "all you can eat" subscription plans with interest. "Book of the Month" clubs have never worked for me.  D2C (vertical) subscriptions might also work for me. I already pay $20 per month to a big tech book publisher for unlimited access to their books online, plus one free downloadable epub per month (which is slightly less than the average cost of their books that I buy).

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deesy58
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Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?

Why might it not be possible for a model of e-book marketing similar to SAS (Software as a Service) or "Cloud" reading to be implemented whereby e-book readers would never "own" an e-book, but would pay to read one from the Cloud.  The books would not be free.  Consumers would have to pay to read them.  They would also have to have an Internet connection.  After a reader finished reading an e-book, it would no longer be available to him/her without additional payment(s).  The model would be similar to borrowing e-books from a library.  Instead of being free, a nominal fee would be charged.

 

When I was young, my mother used to check out "rental" books from the library.  They were usually recent releases of best sellers, and a nominal rental fee was charged by the library.  As I recall, the rental fee accumulated by the day.  After a few months, the books were placed on the shelves with the other books and the rental fee was dropped. 

 

Aren't some on-line and physical universities now using a similar model for textbooks?

 

Perhaps some organization is already doing this. 

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keriflur
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?


deesy58 wrote:

Why might it not be possible for a model of e-book marketing similar to SAS (Software as a Service) or "Cloud" reading to be implemented whereby e-book readers would never "own" an e-book, but would pay to read one from the Cloud.  The books would not be free.  Consumers would have to pay to read them.  They would also have to have an Internet connection.  After a reader finished reading an e-book, it would no longer be available to him/her without additional payment(s).  The model would be similar to borrowing e-books from a library.  Instead of being free, a nominal fee would be charged.

 

When I was young, my mother used to check out "rental" books from the library.  They were usually recent releases of best sellers, and a nominal rental fee was charged by the library.  As I recall, the rental fee accumulated by the day.  After a few months, the books were placed on the shelves with the other books and the rental fee was dropped. 

 

Aren't some on-line and physical universities now using a similar model for textbooks?

 

Perhaps some organization is already doing this. 


The Free Library of Philly is doing something like this - basically it's a library with a very decent selection, and if you live out-of-area you can pay an annual fee to borrow from them.

 

Or, you can just borrow for free from your local library.

 

There's no reason to pay for something you can do for free.  If you don't want to keep the books, support your library system and borrow for free.  Tell your friends you're borrowing for free.  Spread the word, and others will borrow too.  And all those books you bought before you discovered for ebooks - donate them to your library, it will help them to buy more books that you can read... for free.

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
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Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?


keriflur wrote:

deesy58 wrote:

Why might it not be possible for a model of e-book marketing similar to SAS (Software as a Service) or "Cloud" reading to be implemented whereby e-book readers would never "own" an e-book, but would pay to read one from the Cloud.  The books would not be free.  Consumers would have to pay to read them.  They would also have to have an Internet connection.  After a reader finished reading an e-book, it would no longer be available to him/her without additional payment(s).  The model would be similar to borrowing e-books from a library.  Instead of being free, a nominal fee would be charged.

 

When I was young, my mother used to check out "rental" books from the library.  They were usually recent releases of best sellers, and a nominal rental fee was charged by the library.  As I recall, the rental fee accumulated by the day.  After a few months, the books were placed on the shelves with the other books and the rental fee was dropped. 

 

Aren't some on-line and physical universities now using a similar model for textbooks?

 

Perhaps some organization is already doing this. 


The Free Library of Philly is doing something like this - basically it's a library with a very decent selection, and if you live out-of-area you can pay an annual fee to borrow from them.

 

Or, you can just borrow for free from your local library.

 

There's no reason to pay for something you can do for free.  If you don't want to keep the books, support your library system and borrow for free.  Tell your friends you're borrowing for free.  Spread the word, and others will borrow too.  And all those books you bought before you discovered for ebooks - donate them to your library, it will help them to buy more books that you can read... for free.


I am already a member of the Philadelphia Free Library, and have been a member for more than a year.  B&N Book Clubs members and visitors should know that U.S. military veterans can join for free if they can show proof of military service.

 

I am also a member of my local library district, and I am currently reading a book (non-fiction) that I have borrowed from that library.

 

What I was trying to describe was a model that would be offered by a substantial, for-profit organization like Amazon or Google.  Readers would never have access to an entire book at any given time, but only to a part of it, like a single chapter.  After each chapter was read, the next chapter would become available.  I believe that some textbooks used by some universities are currently made available to students using a similar model. 

 

Not everybody has access to a good library.  My own local library, for example, places a priority on music albums, TV shows, children's books and religious books over other types of fiction and non-fiction.  Furthermore, it places a low priority on e-books.  This is probably because of the types of materials for which the library receives the most requests.  I do not believe that any library, even one as large as Philadelphia's, could make a sufficiently wide variety of books available to make this sort of system meet all or most of the reading public's demands. 

 

Unfortunately, it is still necessary to purchase e-books today because some publishers refuse to sell to libraries, and because libraries operate with limited budgets and must prioritize their purchases.  I have learned that only a small percentage of my desired e-books are available from my libraries. 

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keriflur
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Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?


deesy58 wrote:
Not everybody has access to a good library.  My own local library, for example, places a priority on music albums, TV shows, children's books and religious books over other types of fiction and non-fiction.  Furthermore, it places a low priority on e-books.  This is probably because of the types of materials for which the library receives the most requests.  I do not believe that any library, even one as large as Philadelphia's, could make a sufficiently wide variety of books available to make this sort of system meet all or most of the reading public's demands. 

 

Unfortunately, it is still necessary to purchase e-books today because some publishers refuse to sell to libraries, and because libraries operate with limited budgets and must prioritize their purchases.  I have learned that only a small percentage of my desired e-books are available from my libraries. 


I think, unfortunately, that the same shortsighted logic that prevents pubs from selling to libraries will apply to a subscription service if it's one-fee-for-all.  I suppose we will see what happens with the Scribd/HC service.  If it does well, then maybe more pubs will join in.

 

BTW - One of the pubs who was withholding library sales has recently reached an agreement (and now I'm forgetting which one), so you may see a nice influx of books to your library's collection in the near future.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 4,042
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?

deesy58 wrote:

[...] What I was trying to describe was a model that would be offered by a substantial, for-profit organization like Amazon or Google.  Readers would never have access to an entire book at any given time, but only to a part of it, like a single chapter.  After each chapter was read, the next chapter would become available.  [...]

 

So instead of an "all you can eat" (fixed monthly price for unlimited access to all books (packt publishing does this), it would be "pay as you go" (pay for each chunk before reading), correct?

 

That reminds me of the old movie serials my dad watched as a kid, where he'd pay each week to see what Capt. Whatever was up to.

 

I can see it working for some types of material, particularly if there's a fan base. My concern, before signing on, would be what I'm paying for. Is it a "chapter" (some of which can be short), or a word count (which might terminate mid-senten...). 

 

Would I be able to skip chapters? For an author or publisher, they may want some commitment to "eat the whole thing" (too many food-related terms, I know!) lest people only cherry pick (another food reference!) the good parts.

 

Another question is what the consumer is paying for. If it's more than a few cents, I'd hope for some long-term access to the material, but that raises issues moving between libraries.

 

Those concerns aside, if I'm a fan of an author and this just lets me pay for chapters as they're released, it might work very well. It's almost a per-book subscription at that point. Having the latest chapter of a novel I'm closely reading show up on my home screen each week might be a treat, and actually get me more excited and thus likely to actually read the bloody thing rather than staring at the entire book and feeling guilty for not having the energy to get started on it.

 

I've got a soft spot in my heart for libraries since I worked at one while in high school. I'm curious to see what models they develop, and which the publishers will play along with.

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keriflur
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?

[ Edited ]

I would think that if a pay-as-you-go service were introduced, we'd see a lot less free content.  Right now, in the genres I read, it's fairly common for a pub to post the first couple of chapters or even 100 pages in advance of the book's release.  If readers got the first 100 pages free and could buy the rest of the book for less than the whole book, it could hurt overall sales of the book.

 

So, from a publishing perspective, there are some rubs there.  It could be rather nice if the pubs can figure it out, though.

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deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?


bobstro wrote:

 

So instead of an "all you can eat" (fixed monthly price for unlimited access to all books (packt publishing does this), it would be "pay as you go" (pay for each chunk before reading), correct?

 

Correct ... except that the fee would be paid on a per-book basis, and not on a per-chapter basis.

 

 

That reminds me of the old movie serials my dad watched as a kid, where he'd pay each week to see what Capt. Whatever was up to.

 

I can see it working for some types of material, particularly if there's a fan base. My concern, before signing on, would be what I'm paying for. Is it a "chapter" (some of which can be short), or a word count (which might terminate mid-senten...). 


This isn't any different from having to buy the whole book before you can read it. 

 

The technology exists to ensure that a sentence would not be terminated in the middle.  Remember, this model is already in successful use for some textbooks, and it appears to work.  The length of a chapter would not be relevant because the fee would apply to an entire book.

 

 

Would I be able to skip chapters? For an author or publisher, they may want some commitment to "eat the whole thing" (too many food-related terms, I know!) lest people only cherry pick (another food reference!) the good parts.


You could skip whatever you wanted.  You would be paying for the whole book, however, so skipping parts of it would not save you any money.

 

 

Another question is what the consumer is paying for. If it's more than a few cents, I'd hope for some long-term access to the material, but that raises issues moving between libraries.

 

I can imagine a business model similar to the iTunes system, whereby prices would be quite low ... perhaps as low as 99 cents.

 

 

Those concerns aside, if I'm a fan of an author and this just lets me pay for chapters as they're released, it might work very well. It's almost a per-book subscription at that point. Having the latest chapter of a novel I'm closely reading show up on my home screen each week might be a treat, and actually get me more excited and thus likely to actually read the bloody thing rather than staring at the entire book and feeling guilty for not having the energy to get started on it.


In my perception of the model, no portion of the book would be made available to the reading public until the entire book became available. 

 

 

I've got a soft spot in my heart for libraries since I worked at one while in high school. I'm curious to see what models they develop, and which the publishers will play along with.

 

A system like this might make libraries, as they currently exist, obsolete ... except for those readers who could not afford the 99 cent fee for reading a book.

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deesy58
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Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Is it Time to Experiment with New Models?


keriflur wrote:

I would think that if a pay-as-you-go service were introduced, we'd see a lot less free content.  Right now, in the genres I read, it's fairly common for a pub to post the first couple of chapters or even 100 pages in advance of the book's release.  If readers got the first 100 pages free and could buy the rest of the book for less than the whole book, it could hurt overall sales of the book.

 

So, from a publishing perspective, there are some rubs there.  It could be rather nice if the pubs can figure it out, though.


This form of "teasing" a reader would not have to change.  It could be accomplished in the same manner as is currently done. 

 

It would not be possible to "buy the rest of the book for less than the whole book" because the whole book would never be available for sale.  Remember, the books would remain in the Cloud.  This is a model of Cloud reading, and not the current model of marketing e-books.