Subscriptions

Go Read This | You know what’s cool? A billion dollars, that’s what’s cool. | FutureBook

If you read nothing else on Oyster and a Netflix for books, make it this by Chris Mceigh. The money quote:

So should publishers allow Amazon to go head to head with fledgling players for control of this new supplementary income stream or hold back from signing those licensing contracts with the Seattle giant till they see where the land lies?

It’s a choice that could define our industry in ways we can’t begin to imagine yet.

via You know what’s cool? A billion dollars, that’s what’s cool. | FutureBook.

What Lagardère’s First Half results Doesn’t Say

To be fair, Lagardère’s first half report does draw attention to its success in digital, in fact, on the publishing side, it says the following:

Digital books continued their rise in English-speaking countries, accounting for 34% of Adult Trade sales in the United States (vs. 27% at end-June 2012) and 31% in the United Kingdom (vs. 22% at end-June 2012). Digital books now account for 11.3% of Lagardère Publishing’s total net sales, compared with 8.4% at the end of June 2012. In France, the contribution of digital sales to Adult Trade sales remains low (3.2%), although rising sharply.

But you need to actually work the sums to see what that means. It means that in Fast-half 2013 Lagardère saw €103.61million in digital sales (Based n 11.3% of Net Sales for the division of €907million). So digital is now worth over €100million in net sales to Lagardère. That €100million is €27.59million more than First-half 2012.

That €27.59million represents just over 3% of overall net sales for the publishing division meaning practically all the like-for-like growth in the division and more  than all the reported growth in the division came from digital. Without digital, Lagardère Publishing would be a shrinking business.

Perhaps more interestingly, while digital is clearly growing well, another part of the business is also booming, their Partworks unit. Different ends of the spectrum in some ways, but driven by trends obvious in digital too, branded and licensed content and subscriptions with a healthy dose of direct-to-consumer thrown in for good measure!

Fascinating.

Go Read This | Taking a Third Pass at Selling Movie Subscriptions – NYTimes.com

A thoroughly fascinating piece over at the New York Times looking at Stacy Spikes’ struggle to build a subscription based business in the film going space. It’s fascinating one so many levels but the one that sticks, firmly, in my mind is his answer to the question below:

Q. Are you saying that you could lose money on the subscriptions but make it up with other revenue?
A. We believe the best way to have a successful business model is to have multiple revenue streams. This model is very similar to that of a studio that is focused on more than just box office ticket sales.

via Taking a Third Pass at Selling Movie Subscriptions – NYTimes.com.

We should lock that idea in our heads and think of it every day in every way when we look at our own industries. Multiple revenue streams, multiple revenue streams, multiple revenue streams!
Eoin

Why Storia Is Important

You may have read this piece (or one of the several pieces on the topic) yesterday or this morning:

Storia is in beta now and available for Windows PC through the website; an iPad version is coming later this month. The app itself is free and comes with five free e-books. A store contains over 1,000 other children’s e-books—many available in digital format for the first time—that can be sorted by grade level, reading level, age and character/series.

When the app officially launches in the fall, it will contain over 2,000 titles, reports the AP, “that can be bought directly from the publisher or from retailers.” But the Storia website also says, “Since Storia eBooks come with special features to enhance your child’s reading experience, Storia eBooks can only be read on the Storia eReading app.” I’m clarifying this with Scholastic—if these books are essentially apps that won’t be sold through e-bookstores like Kindle and Nook, that is certainly noteworthy.

via In Major Digitization Effort, Scholastic Launches E-Reading App For Kids | paidContent.

It is  a pretty interesting move and one that I am not surprised by. The shift by Apple some time go makes this kind of move very attractive to publishers of large lists, as I wrote some time ago Apple has created an opportunity in the App space for publishers:

Apple’s more recent decision to enforce tough rules on in-App sales of content has been less popular. It has forced Amazon, Google, B&N and Kobo among others in publishing and other creative industries, to change their Apps to disable links to their ebook or content stores. Further it made it impossible for an ebook retailer to sell an ebook through the Apple in-App purchase system without giving 30% to Apple. Nasty eh?

The opportunity this created and that everyone missed , even me (till this weekend when it dawned on me), is for publishers to go direct to consumers and launch their own apps selling ebooks to readers.

Think about it, ebook retailers cannot make money from selling ebooks via Apple’s in-App sales because their margins simply won’t stretch that far. In the case of Agency titles they would be losing money, even on self-published works they might be losing money. However, a publisher, selling direct through their own app, or even a branded app in partnership with a number of other publishers in a given genre, could easily afford the 30% charge and even an administration charge too so long as it was kept low.

Apple has shifted the economics of the App-economy to disintermediate the distributors and empower the content producer. Sure, in doing so they have gained power and revenue potential for themselves, but they have created an opportunity for a savvy publisher who has a brand that readers identify with.

I would expect to see more of these from larger publishers as well as specialist ones (Witness for instance Amber Books’ Military History app). They make sense and they will hopefully sell books.

The question is whether they lead to the building of relationships with readers, a crucial gap in what iOS offers publishers. That lack of customer data was reportedly one reason why the FT eschews the app store for their own HTML based apps and subscription options.

There are many angles to cover and such apps can only form part of an overall strategy but I think Storia suggests large publishers are looking for opportunities and acting when they seem them!

Eoin

Go Read This | Angry Robot 12 Month Subscription – angryrobotstore.com

The first thing to say about this is that it’s incredibly cheap. £69 for lots of books is good, by any measures. The second is that it’s incredibly smart. The third that I’d expect this to be the first of many such plans offered by small, medium AND large publishers.

The thing about subscription plans though, and this is more a note to watch for future activity, is that they are of greatest benefit the readers when they cover a very wide number of titles. I’d expect the subscription selection to increase, even if at the same time the number of downloads permitted is reduced. That growth could come either by acquisition, publication or partnership with other science-fiction and fantasy genre publishers. What’s more, as the list grows, it would be very sensible to sub-divide the list along more niche lines (and maybe even charge more):

A 12 Month Subscription to Angry Robot Titles – download your first titles, now!

Every new Angry Robot title between now and 12 months from now.

That’s a minimum of 24 eBooks for one, small, up-front price!

We publish a minimum of 24 new eBooks a year, and you can get every one of these over the next 12 months for the price, indicated. We publish 2 books most months, none in December, but usually 3 in April and September.

If we publish more than 24 books between the start and end of your subscription, you will get those free of charge. Omnibus editions and re-releases are not included as part of your subscription.

via Angry Robot 12 Month Subscription – angryrobotstore.com.

Go Read This | The Rumpus Becomes a Book Publisher

That which once was, is again eh? Love this model but it sure aint innovative in the sense of NEW. Though it is clever and sensible and old fashioned, but them in my experience, so is the Rumpus.

The Rumpus is printing 1,000 copies of Rumpus Women, half of which Elliot considers already sold to book club members. For $25 per month, book club members get a new book the month before publication and can then participate in online discussions about the book and a live online chat with the author.  The Rumpus runs on a tight budget, so, said Elliot, “the idea that weve already sold 500 copies to our members makes publishing the book possible. Well sell the remaining copies on the website and in bookstores but not until a month after our book club members have received their copies.” Currently, the club has about 360 members, but Elliot anticipates that number growing to 500 by December.

via The Rumpus Becomes a Book Publisher.