Here’s How A Subscription Service For E-books Could Work

Science fiction and fantasy publishers have been on the front lines of experimentation with e-book pricing and promotions. Now sci-fi/fantasy publisher Angry Robot has launched a new e-book subscription service that’s already showing results.

Angry Robot is based in the UK (its titles are available globally), and a one-year subscription is £69 (about $110)–about a third less than it would cost to purchase all of the titles individually. Subscribers get every Angry Robot e-book published over the next year–a minimum of 24 titles.

Angry Robot’s website has a list of the titles that will be published through June 2012. “If we publish more than 24 books between the start and end of your subscription, you will get those free of charge,” the site notes. Re-releases and special editions aren’t included.

Some of the titles included in the subscription are books two or three in a series. Subscribers also get a discount code that gives them 33 percent off any title already in Angry Robot’s catalog, so they can purchase “earlier books in a series, at a similar discount to your subscription, or any other titles that catch your eye.” The discount code works only once.

In a post on FutureBook, Angry Robot editor Lee Harris wrote that, as of yesterday, Angry Robot had “sold enough

to beat our store’s e-book sales for every other month this year.” He also notes, “The subscription becomes cost-effective for the reader at about 15 titles, so for those who would have probably read fewer books, we’ve sold a few extra titles, and for those who would have bought more, we’re rewarding their loyalty.”

A few other (non-big-six) publishers have experimented with e-book subscriptions. The largest of those is probably romance publisher Harlequin, which lets readers subscribe to a variety of romance series at a discount. And sci-fi publisher Baen Books has a monthly subscription service called WebScriptions, which gives buyers early access to Baen titles.

Do you currently have an e-book subscription? If not, what would entice you to (more titles? different publishers participating?) and what would you pay? Let us know in the comments.