Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Friday, October 18, 2013

EBook Subscriptions or "Netflixing" the Publishing Industry


Remember the "Library Checkout Card"? That little piece of paper tucked in the back of your library book, that the librarian stamped with the date and your name? They went out way ahead of the card catalog, but in the day, it was the way you checked books out. Until now...

Ever hear of Netflix? It's that movie subscription service that made renting movies in your PJ's easy. Well, eBook subscriptions are making a soft entry into the world of readers who use eReaders. eBook subscriptions have been around for a while, mostly for technical books, where the technology is changing faster than the days on the calendar, and books just don't stay current. But for literary reads there hasn't been much interest. Publisher's Weekly writer Calvin Reid, wrote this past week about how "the subscription e-book model is finally gaining traction in the publishing industry" and how Oyster, eReatah, and Scribd are all coming out with rental plans for eBooks, just like Netflix has for movies.

We subscribe to Netflix for our movies, we subscribe to Audible for our audiobooks, why not a monthly subscription to download eBooks? Here's how they work...

Oyster... for $9.95 a month, Oyster will give you unlimited downloads to their 100,000 books. I couldn't browse to see what kind of titles were available, but that would be important to me. Right now Oyster subscriptions are only for your iPhone or iPod Touch. They say they have plans to release an iPad friendly app later this year. You can learn more about them at Oyster.com.

eReatah... for $14.99 a month, eReatah will let you download 2 titles a month. You'll need to install the eReatah app, which works on your iPhone, iPad and Android devices with a work around that should work for Kindle Fire. They have an interesting take on all this though, you get to keep the books you download on eReatah. BUT, you can only read them with the app, so you have to keep the app on your device. Their website is beautiful, they have a person that comes on chat immediately to answer any question you may have, and it appears that there are current popular titles available. You can learn more about them at eReatah.com

Scribd... for $8.99 a month (and the first month is free), Scribd offers unlimited downloads. You can read on your iPhone, iPad, Android or browser. This means Kindle Fire or Nook HD, not the regular Kindle or Nook Simple Touch. Scribd has been around a long time with access to all sorts of reading material. Their selection of available books is amazing, and you can browse their FULL CATALOG to  see for yourself. You can learn more about them at Scribd.com.

What do you think?! Are eBook subscriptions practical? Do we really need to purchase and keep all those eBooks forever? And what about pricing? I think that at $8.99 a month with unlimited downloads may be great if you are a voracious reader, but would your reading habits support the expense? Remember, there's always the library. Even though they got rid of the checkout card, libraries have both books and in most cases now, free ebooks to download!

 I have to say though... I still miss that good ole card catalog!

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