Would you pay $100 a month for instant access to every book on any device?

Tim Carmody would.

It’s a short read, but I think the replies he gets from Twitter as well as the comments are worthwhile. It brings up other issues such as being able to copy content, different access models, tiered plans, and pricing. Take the time to read through.

(h/t: Daily Dish)

4 thoughts on “Would you pay $100 a month for instant access to every book on any device?

  1. Comments are closed on the original so I’ll say this here: I pay £10 a month to access Spotify Premium.

    (I don’t think Spotify is yet available in the US, but it’s a music streaming service.)

    Although obviously there are gaps, Spotify does have on it most of the music I’d ever want. I’ve not bought a single CD since I signed up a year and a half ago because I can get everything I would’ve bought, as part of my subscription.

    However, 9 out of 10 Spotify users have the free option – it’s recently changed but basically there was no money involved, there were ads, and you couldn’t access it on your mobile device. Premium is ad-free and you can listen on your iphone etc.

    So I think that if 9 out of 10 people won’t pay just a tenner a month to access a huge amount of music, 9.9999 out of 10 won’t pay $100 a month to access all books.

    • I think that your comment also shows the importance of tiered pricing systems. It creates different experiences for people who want to pay for it versus those who will endure the ads. The minority of Flickr premium users support the majority of free Flickr users. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a thing. I get to upload as much as I want.

      $100 is just a number and a good one at that. It offers people a jumping off point for thinking about what they would pay. I think if his question was asked in the abstract it would be all over the place. But putting a number out there and asking “higher or lower?” starts the conversation without getting hung up on that first number.

  2. Tiered pricing is key. As with most subscription services, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Personally, I would not pay more than $20/month, even for an all-inclusive system. I think if you make it too expensive, you’re only appealing to early adopters or the heaviest of readers. Furthermore, if you aim too high price wise, you’re just going to encourage piracy. I believe $100 is absolutely worth it, but the general public is never willing pay the actual worth of something. Netflix and other similar models work because of affordability and ease of use. Take away either of those features and the ball game is over. Ebooks need to be cheap and painlessly accessed so they can achieve buy-in from the maximum number of users.

    Other things I worry about with a subscription model are the potential effects on the long tail, the revenue model for content creators and the copying/lending/sharing allowances. What happens to self-published authors in such a system? I suppose it would depend on who is running the system and how navigation/discovery is handled. Also, will creators be paid on the basis of pages viewed? And what, if any, limits would there be on copying and/or lending? Perhaps an additional fee could be assessed that would allow for lending, print-on-demand services, or even supplemental materials.

    Regardless, I think a subscription-based system will exist. The initial offering is likely to be less than ideal, but a healthy public debate could help drive it in the right direction.

  3. Pingback: Spotify for Books? | A Fantastical Librarian

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