Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pros and Cons of Ebook Subscription Platforms

The monthly subscription model has come to reading. Digital content is well-suited to this model that offers people easy access to content from almost anywhere for a low monthly price. Scribd, Oyster, and Kindle Unlimited are the big players in this ebook market.

But what are the benefits of these services for readers? And what might they be giving up?

Pros of Ebook Subscription Services

1. Ability for readers to budget. A diverse library of reading material is on demand for a specific monthly fee. If you read a lot and have to watch how much you spend, subscriptions could be exactly what you need.

2. Big libraries. All three services boast catalogs well into the hundreds of thousands.

3. Forget format. Ebooks have been plagued by incompatible formats across retailers. Often libraries become hard to access if you switch devices. Some people like to create their own private catalogs and store their ebooks on private computers. They'll strip DRM and convert formats as needed. This is fine but definitely not something everybody has time for or the inclination to do. With a subscription, your content is there when you log into your account, presumably well into the future. Scribd already works on numerous platforms. Oyster started out as only for Apple, but it has expanded to more devices. Kindle Unlimited works on any device as well.

4. Monetary decisions are removed from reading choices. When browsing for something to read in an ebook subscription system, you might start reading anything that strikes your fancy. You don't have to put it through the filter of whether you want to buy it or not.

Cons of Ebook Subscription Services

1. If you're looking for a specific title, it might not be there. Content must be licensed for subscription distribution by its creators, and this does not happen every time. 

2. You might still buy ebooks elsewhere because hey you're a book addict. This is probably not a huge negative. Readers often access books in all kinds of ways. We need text!

3. Maybe you don't read often enough to justify the monthly cost. A subscription service gives value when it is used. If you're a sporadic reader, then these services may not be for you. However, a subscription might cause you to read more because the content is handy.

In my personal opinion the ebook subscription model is great. I received a complimentary one-year subscription to Scribd because my ebooks are distributed there by Smashwords. I've already read several great how-to books and find it a handy resource for looking up information too. For home and garden enthusiasts like me there is an endless supply of gardening, craft, DIY, and cookbooks there. I'm seriously considering buying my own plan when my gift subscription expires.

Fantasy fans will find all nine of my novels on Scribd along with thousands of other titles by other fantasy authors. You can view a sample of one of my novels Rys Rising: Book I on Scribd right here:

If you use Oyster Books, my fantasy novels are there too, but that service doesn't give me a handy way to share a preview like at Scribd. But definitely search for "Tracy Falbe" if you want a good fantasy read.

As for Kindle Unlimited, alas, I am not welcome there. Amazon only allows indie authors who have agreed to exclusive terms with the company to be included in Kindle Unlimited. Because I am unwilling to forgo every other means of selling my ebooks in the world in order to participate, my novels will not be in Kindle Unlimited until Amazon stops limiting the content there. All my ebooks are for sale in the Kindle store however, and I welcome you to get them there. 

A note from Tracy Falbe: Be the first to know about my new releases and special sales at Brave Luck Books. Join the Readers' List. Ebooks and audiobooks available worldwide. Print in select countries.