Science fiction/fantasy is one of the fastest-growing e-book genres, and Amazon’s Kindle Store is wooing fans with a new offer: A free subscription to the “digest edition” of Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine. The idea: Get them hooked so they’ll subscribe to the extended edition for $12 per year. But the new offer also hints at Amazon’s more ambitious plans for the genre.
Both the digest and extended digital issues of the bimonthly magazine are sold only through the Kindle Store. The free digest edition includes the following:
–All nonfiction content: editor’s recommendations, “Curiosities” (odd books of enduring interest), film reviews, book reviews, cartoons and humor, and “Coming Attractions” (highlights of each issue).
–One full story from the current full issue of the magazine.
–Short descriptions of the extended issue’s remaining stories and “novelets.”
“If you are interested in reading the remainder of the stories and ‘novelets,'” notes the magazine page, “subscribe to the extended edition.” The interesting thing
Science fiction/fantasy readers are a tech-savvy bunch, so they’re a good place to start with e-book experiments and new payment models. Many sci-fi fans are buying e-books directly from the author or publisher, for instance, and sci-fi/fantasy publisher Angry Robot recently launched an e-book subscription service.
If Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) and Fantasy & Science Fiction publisher Spilogale see many free digest subscribers converting over to the paid edition of the magazine, watch out for other magazine publishers–possibly of more mainstream magazines–trying similar experiments. Then again, digest subscribers may be perfectly happy with the free magazine, especially since it’s an ongoing subscription rather than a one-issue offer.
Amazon may be okay with that, though, if this is really an effort to collect the contact information of sci-fi/fantasy readers and to get in their good graces. The company has been pretty calculated about the areas in which it launches publishing imprints. It recently launched a romance imprint, Montlake, and romance, along with science fiction, is one of the most popular e-book genres. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a science-fiction/fantasy publishing imprint from Amazon sometime soon.