Tag Archives: subscription

Paywall business model for news doesn’t match readers’ expectations in the long run

2019-05-21

Reuters Institute, Oxford Unversity: newspaper paywall study
A report titled Pay Models for Online News in the US and Europe: 2019 Update published in April 2019 by the Reuters Institute indicates that the number of newspapers that charge for access to their online news is slowly increasing. The study, conducted in association with the Oxford University, features six European markets (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, UK) and the US. Even though not really a global study, it covers a variety of markets that have different languages and cultures.

The key points of the report are:

69% of major newspapers in seven studied media markets have a paywall. It is a small increase from 2017. In the US, however, newspaper paywalls increased from 60% to 76%.
Absolute paywalls that require payment before any news can be accessed are very rare (3%) amongst the 212 news organisations studied.
Monthly subscription prices average €14.09 – only a small difference to prices of 2017. The range is from €2 to €41.50 a month.
All television and radio broadcasters included in the study provide free access to their digital news sites.
Practically all (94%) news outlets that were established as digital only offer free access to their content.

WAN IFRA (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers) regards the rise of paywalls as a sustainable model, but I disagree. Access to information on the internet has already changed the media landscape completely. The same old subscribe-to-our-fine-newspaper –model won’t work in the long run.

Isn’t it obvious there is a flaw in the newspapers’ paywall business model?

There was a time when I deliberately inked my fingers at the breakfast table. The morning newspaper was a huge, thick stack of paper sheets with pages covered in fresh black ink. We had to pay a considerable amount of money for a media company to deliver those stacks of paper to our homes. It was fine. Later during the day, we possibly heard fresh news on a radio or television.

When the world moved to digital media, and news on the internet were updated and available 24 hours a day, the newspaper business model has largely stayed the same. Each of the leading brands are asking readers to pay for access to their online news.

Sure, there are a few media outlets in the world that can get readers to pay for online news, like The Economist, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and each market’s biggest newspaper.
Financial Times, subscription options
If, for instance, an active news follower wants to read The Economist, The New York Times, and the leading newspaper of her home market, she has to subscribe to three services behind paywalls. If we apply the average monthly price of 14.09 euros, the total cost is 42.27 euros per month. This is for news alone.

Movie subscription service Netflix lets you watch films published by hundreds of studios and production companies by paying about 8 euros a month. The subscriber is not tied to one content production company but Netflix streams content from multiple sources. The business model allows sharing the revenue between production companies whose content has been watched.

Ebook subscription service Scribd charges USD 8.99 per month for access to a library of more than million books, audiobooks, and to a selection of magazines and newspapers. There are some restrictions on the number of books and articles that you can read, but a normal person who reads a lot is unlikely to meet those limits. The business model that Scribd and other similar book subscription services use is based on revenue share. Publishers are paid according to a number of times their content has been read.
Scribd monthly subscription to ebooks, magazines, audiobooks
Online music service Spotify lets you listen to the music published everywhere in the world for 9.99 euros per month. Millions and millions of songs and classical tunes to listen to on a phone, tablet, or PC. A fraction of the revenue goes to the artist and composer, and also studios get their share of the revenue.

If you subscribe to all three: Netflix, Scribd and Spotify, it still costs less than three high-quality newspaper subscriptions.

Playster is a subscription service that has bundled books, movies and music into a package that costs 39.95 euros per month. I haven’t tried Playster yet, so it is difficult to assess if it has the same amount of quality content as individual subscription services have.

Apple is developing its service businesses, and has introduced new products, among them a service called News+. It is a subscription to newspapers and magazines for USD 9.99 a month. Apple says hundreds of news sources are available in the service, but the small number of major newspapers has raised many eyebrows.

So, if you are subscribing to a couple of newspaper services, and a few other digital media services, having to login to multiple online services has its inconveniences. User names, passwords, credit cards, security and privacy can be different at each service. Monitoring payments to all services you are subscribing to can become a headache.

The flaws in newspapers’ paywall business model are obvious: price, inconvenience for having to login to each service separately, managing and tracking payments to each service separately, and the fear of missing out (of news published on other sites).

I bet that in the long term services like Apple News Plus and Scribd are something readers are more willing to pay for than individual newspaper subscriptions.
Apple News+ subscription service

Ebook news digest: podcasts for writers, future of news reporting, ebook service with 1 million paying customers

2019-02-01

News on ebooks, writing and publishing

woman typing on laptop, wearing headphones. photo by Christina Morillo.
Scribd has more than one million paying subscribers for ebooks

Scribd is a service that lets you read ebooks, listen to audiobooks, and read some magazines for a monthly fee of 9 dollars. I have subscribed to the service, and liked the selection of books, and the recommendation feature that gives ideas what to read next. Now, Scribd has more than 1 million readers who pay for access to its vast library.

Eight Podcasts for Writers and Book Authors

Daily Writing Tips has put together a list of podcasts they like to listen to. Finding good podcasts that are educational and enjoyable to listen to often takes time, but perhaps this list may save your time. I have listened to some of the podcasts mentioned in the article, and from the ones that I know, I can recommend Joanna Penn’s podcast for writers who want to learn more about their trade.

Five Things Everybody Needs to Know about the Future of Journalism

Reuters Institute in collaboration with the University of Oxford has published a comprehensive report on the current state and the trends that are shaping journalism. People are reading and sharing news more than ever but many news organizations have difficulties with generating enough revenue from their journalism. The finger points to the mighty platform companies that have managed to get the full attention of large audiences.

Sights and fiestas of Valencia, Spain

The new Klaava Travel Guide focuses on one of the most exciting Spanish cities: Valencia. The city is the host of one of the biggest festivities in Spain, known as Fallas, in March. Plenty of tourists from North and South America and Europe arrive in Valencia to tour the sights and to join the party in the historic city center.

Photo Gallery: Seven Beautiful Bookstores in Asia

We have seen many beautiful bookshops in Europe that often are located in amazing old buildings. When bookshelves and books are carefully placed in these environments, the objects create an idyllic interior for an old building. Nextshark has collected a photo gallery of bookstores in Asia that – unlike in Europe – are modern, and beautiful.

How to Avoid Seven Travel Writing Mistakes Beginners Tend to Make

Travel writer Roy Stevenson gives seven valuable lessons for aspiring travel writers. Every genre of writing has its own etiquette and customs. This article highlights the ones that are common in travel media – especially magazines, online publications – that beginners may be unaware of.

sample page from Valencia, Spain travel guide

Ebook news digest: tips for aspiring writers, Instagram book deal, ebook subscription success

2016-07-24

Ebook news digest July 24, 2016

ereader, woman reading on bench, wolf g, flickr

Photo by Wolf G. https://www.flickr.com/photos/39559585@N00/


8 things I wish I’d known before writing my first novel (Marie Claire)

Author Kate Mosse shares a few tips for aspiring writers, and although her tips focus on novels, they are relevant for non-fiction writers as well. Once a writer has dived deep into the writing process, we would like to highlight two key tips that Kate Mosse shares: Success Is In The Editing Not The Writing and You Don’t Have To Write Chapters in order. In other words, the ugly truth in writing is that editing takes more time than the actual writing, and once you have a solid plan for your manuscript, you can write it any order you like. A tip from us: write the first chapter, introduction and opening paragraph last.

An Instagrammer with almost 2 million followers reveals how to take the perfect travel photo (Business Insider)

Solid advice for travel photography. More travel photography at Instagram.

Seeking to Make Content ‘More Alive,’ E-Book Publishing Tool Takes Off (the algemeiner)

Creating an ebook that features nice, beautifully laid out images, perhaps video clips and even interactivity requires more work than writing a book with a few photos or graphs. That’s why an application that lets the author or the publisher easily and quickly produce a multimedia book is a valuable tool. Ourboox is an online tool that is trying to do just that. It is the first step into right direction, but at the moment it is primarily suitable for home users who want to share their memories with others. That said, Ourboox has potential. Commercial multimedia ebooks still require the use of a professional tool, like the Apple iBooks Author. View samples of travel guidebooks that feature multimedia here.

Edinburg author used Instagram as vehicle to showcase writing (The Monitor)

Victoria Lopez knew very well that Instagram was for photographs and videos, but she used the online service to share snippets of her book manuscript that she was writing. After getting a good number of followers, she was contacted by a book publisher who asked if she was interested in a book deal. She was, but she also realized that it was the opportunity of a lifetime: she contacted other publishers to get the best deal. Our take: An inspiring story, but it is truly exceptional to get a book publishing deal via Instagram.

Who said Indians won’t pay for E-books (Economic Times)

In general, the large population of India maybe reluctant to purchase products online, but there are exceptions. The Economic Times reports of an ebook subscription service Matrubharti that has managed to establish new business on digital products. “As a consumer, I do have resistance to buy readable content online. However, if I’m given a subscription, like in a library, it makes the decision easier.”

Online media subscription service Playster bundles ebooks, music, movies and games

2016-01-13

After Netflix hit the big time with online movie subscriptions and Spotify made online music available at low or no cost to listeners, the book industry has been looking for a similar solution. Is it possible to create a low-cost service that lets readers consume as many books as they want? Many have tried, but it still remains to be seen if it works for books. Now, Playster has a new value proposition: a bundle with books, movies, music and games in one subscription package.
playster ebooks, subscription
Playster media package of ebooks, movies, music and games costs 29.50 a month. You can read as much as you want, watch movies, listen to music and play games.

Playster sells individual media subscriptions as well. Unlimited books is 11.95 a month. The first month is free, but you have to give your credit card details.

We haven’t tried out the service yet, so we haven’t seen the book selection or how smoothly the Playster service works.

Nonetheless, the bundle package has potential. Perhaps it is too much for an individual person, but for a couple or for a small family it could be a good choice.

Other ebook subscription services are, for instance:
Scribd
Bookmate
24 Symbols
Safari Books Online
Mofibo (in Danish, Dutch and Swedish)
Skoobe (German)
Nubico (Spanish)
Amazon Kindle Unlimited (available in U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and India)
playster ebooks

Black Friday deal on an ebook subscription service

2015-11-27

Ebook subscription services that let you read as much as you have time for a monthly fee are pretty affordable. The market price is around 10 dollars or euros for one month worth of reading. If one of the services decides to give a small Black Friday discount, what’s the big deal? Well, because subscription requires a recurring payment, costs add up. That’s why, the Black Friday deal from 24 Symbols is worth considering.

In the spirit of Black Friday, 24 Symbols has lowered the price for its monthly book subscription to 6.99 Euros. It is the lowest monthly subscription price we have seen so far. What do you have to do to get the deal? Go here: www.24symbols.com/subscriptions

24 Symbols has a selection of 300 000 books for you to read read if you sign up. Reading applications for mobile devices are available as well. It is possible to give a subscription to someone else as a gift, too. The Black Friday price doesn’t apply then.

24 symbols ebook subscription service

Book Subscription Service Oyster Opens a Bookstore for Ebook Downloads

2015-04-09

Oyster, an online service that lets you read as many books as you have time for a monthly fee of $10, has opened a bookstore where ebooks can be downloaded for offline reading. Oyster doesn’t tell how many books it has for sale, but proudly states that the big five publishers in the US (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster) among many others are on board.
oyster bookstore ebook downloads, offline reading
Oyster’s bookstore is a convenient place to shop for existing subscription customers who occasionally want to purchase a book in order to make sure it is always accessible. For example, travel guidebooks fall into this category because you can’t assume you are connected to the Internet when on the road. Another thing is if Oyster can (or wants to) compete against Amazon, Apple iBooks, Google Play Books or Kobo purely as an ebook store.

Other ebook subscription services that let you read books for a low monthly fee are, for instance, 24 Symbols and Scribd.

Amazon Kindle Unlimited Is the Number One Ebook Subscription Service, but Which One Is Number Two?

2015-01-29

We all know that Amazon is the largest retailer of ebooks in the world, but which online book subscription service has managed to attract the most customers? Amazon was the pioneer of ebook retail business, but it wasn’t the first company that provided customers with all-you-can-eat book service for a low monthly fee. Nonetheless, Amazon has already managed to take a major market share of the emerging book subscription service business.
nielsen: ebook subscription services market shares
Nielsen Books & Consumers Market Research has published a report that includes a ranking for ebook subscription services. The services with the biggest number of customers are:

1. Kindle Unlimited
2. Safari Books Online
3. Scribd
4. Oyster
5. Skillsoft
6. 24 Symbols
7. Entitle
8. Blloon

Nielsen has ranked Amazon Prime as an ebook subscription service, but Prime is not comparable with other ranked services. Prime is primarily a product delivery service that also includes access to a number of digital products.