Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wave of the Future: Subscription Book Services

As a big fan and user of Netflix, I got to thinking about what the new Kindle Owner's Lending Library means for readers. Will a similar program as the unlimited streaming be coming down the pipeline, only with e-books instead of video?

I read this great blog post by author David Gaughran today, which addresses mainly this topic. I'm of two minds about the whole thing, really.

As a reader, I'm excited.

I love Netflix because I get free access to movies I wouldn't have otherwise purchased. That's basically what I use it for--experimenting and finding new, cool things to watch without commiting myself to buying a new Blu Ray or, God forbid, coughing up for a movie ticket.

If I find something I truly love, OR (more likely), Netflix doesn't have it available for free streaming, then I'll buy it or rent it if I've heard it's awesome.  I still have a blu ray collection that I add to every year, so Netflix isn't cutting into my purchasing decisions just because it's free.

As a writer, I'm worried.

In the blog post I linked above, David closes with an excellent point about how we as authors want to get paid. If everything goes subscription-based, then we're basically agreeing to a flat rate, set by the retailer and can never hope to make more than that.  Right now, I get to set my own prices, and the only things determining my earning cap are a) how hard I want to work to produce more content and b) reader interest. 

There is no limit to how much I'm "allowed" to make! If I keep churning out great stories that people want to read, the potential is there to make a nice living. 

However, if my only choice is to be locked into a flat payout (or even worse, some mystery payout like Kindle Select offers), then that will seriously suck. 

I like being in control of my own destiny, and I especially like being paid properly for my hard work.

So, here's my question to you:

Would you use a subscription site as a reader, and if so, how do you think it would influence your book-purchasing habits?

This is a fascinating time to be alive :).  Only time will tell how this all shakes out.


Joanne said...

It's definitely an interesting avenue to watch and see how it all plays out. I give Amazon credit, though, for trying new ideas and taking reading to new places ...

Dave P Perlmutter said...

Just read about your success on Newbies blog, fantastic.

I am going down that route with my book which is based on true events. Lets hope I have the same results.

I am following your blog, please follow mine....

Continued success Rebecca..

S.K.Adams said...

I have awarded you the Sweet Blog Award, so pop over to collect it and find out what you need to do if you accept.