The expected (feared ?) news is out : Amazon has embraced the « all you can eat » subscription model. Kindle Unlimited (KU) is on everybody's mind, lips and pens. Movies have been Netflixed, music has been Spotified and, now, books are following the same path. In a recent post, 24Symbols co-founder Justo Hidalgo is urging publishers to recognize that subscription services do bring tremendous value to the publishing ecosystem. In the midst of the Amazon/Hachette battle, the KU announcement has at least one merit. It raises lots of comments, arguments and counterarguments : Will KU make the publishing industry KO ? Is is good news or bad news and for whom ? Do « all you can eat » subscription services have a bright future ?
Well, as always, nothing is neither totally white or black nor totally new or old. Nothing is either bad or good. It all depends. KU or not, the devil still lies in the details. Subscription, streaming, advertising as paying third party are indeed hardly new concepts. Think of radio, TV etc... They have been around for quite a while. The only difference is that Internet gives them a new lease of life that may or may not be disruptive. To avoid hasty conclusions on these potentially disruptive effects , a step back and a wider perspective are needed. The following lines try to achieve this. They are the output of my business musings and ruminations after almost 14 years of book streaming and subscription. This is one specific (biased?) angle, but hopefully a good one to start with.
How does (should) subscription really work ? : Data, pricing and money talk
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