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

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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.

2 Responses to “Here’s How A Subscription Service For E-books Could Work”

  1. As per the comment above: this is a possible model only for niche publishers.

    Aside from that can you think of a publisher of trade books where you would want to receive EVERYTHING they publish?


    So this quickly becomes a question of whether we’ll soon find the digital equivalent of the old “Book of the Month Club” or “The History Book Club”. The answer: You bet! I’m sure there are a host of unimaginitive entrepreneurs working on it already.

    (Funny to remember that there was once a quite successful “Quality Paperback Book Club”. That hints at how much the landscape has changed.)

  2. At Cruciform Press we are 10 months into a model that, in addition to selling books individually, offers a new book the first of each month to our niche Christian audience by subscription. All books the same price and same basic length. Annual or monthly subscriptions. Subscribers get ebooks for $3.99 in their choice of mobi, epub, or PDF. Ebooks are approaching 30% of overall sales and continually growing.