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  1.  (9779.1)
    (following on from Warren's recent blog post of the same name and from the Sci-fi & Fantasy Magazines as EBooks thread)

    I posted the link in the Sci-fi & Fantasy Magazines as EBooks thread about Amazon subs (and as Warren pointed out in his blog post, the link disappeared from gizmodo, and has now returned with an update from Amazon)

    I don't think the idea of paying for access to (as opposed to owning) digital media is necessarily a bad one. It's a fairly new paradigm when it comes to books/magazines, but new paradigms come thick & fast these days and we're getting used to adapting. However the problems come when the new business model is described in terms couched in meaning from a different, older, business model - at best it causes suspicion between customer and publisher (or retailer): a term such as "subscription" comes laden with preconceptions.

    From a retailer/publisher point of view, it's useful to have a simple sales proposition - if the customer has to jump through too many cognitive hoops to understand what's on offer then the chance of a sale decreases.

    Amazon's clarification to the gizmodo post is comprehensible but hardly short & snappy:

    If issues of a subscription were downloaded to your device, 7 of the back issues (the number that is kept on all devices automatically, then moved to the archive to save room) should still be on the device. They were not deleted from the device. You can find them in the Home view in an item called "Periodicals: Back Issues."

    For an active subscription, before a back issue is moved to the archive to save room, the customer may want to keep a particular issue. From the device she can select Menu>Keep this Issue to keep it indefinitely.

    A number of new sales models for ebooks/e-magazines are obviously going to emerge, and I'm curious as to what you all think they might be. Is it possible to have a sales model for e-magazines that is fair to both consumer and retailer/publisher that can be described in a single, simple, sentence?
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2011
    If you are thinking of it more in terms of a library, then it works just fine. I think with Overdrive and the ability to lend Kindle eBooks then people will get back into the habit that such easy access to print books has partly got us out of the habit (I can have books punted to me from across the country for the cost of my busfare to the library but now have an epic tonne of books). I don't mind paying a small amount for that but if you are looking at a library model you'd be looking at a lower cost, or what about Amazon offering some kind of fee for access to as much as you can read and then the books read getting a cut of the fee?
  2.  (9779.3)
    Like the library model Amazon apparently just floated in the US?
  3.  (9779.4)
    One model that's used by many academic journals (which have been primarily digital for several years now) is that you buy an annual subscription that gives you access to not only the issues released during that year, but also all of the archive of previous issues. If your subscription lapses then you can still access the issues published during the period of your subscription, but you can no longer access the archive of previous issues.

    That seems to fulfil the traditional concepts of a "subscription" ("I subscribed 2009-2010, so I still have access to those issues I paid for even though I have stopped subscribing"), while giving additional benefits/incentives to continue subscribing (not only new issues but also access to an archive of issues from before you subscribed).
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2011
    Like the library model Amazon apparently just floated in the US?

    That is more just making the Kindle one of the devices that works with Overdrive, plus some extra features like your notes being saved. The selection of books is still rather limited.

    I'm talking about opening up the contents of the whole Amazon store (OK willing participants in the program) as a library.
    • CommentAuthorbuhbuhcuh
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2011
    For me, the ownership question is simple:

    Will I always be able to read it?

    If the answer is "yes", then I am satisfied. As the end user, I don't care whether it is on a server or my hard drive, just as I don't mind if my stack of NatGeos are all sitting in a box in the garage.

    If the answer is "maybe" then it becomes a question of value. Implicit in DRM and content hosting is the "maybe" - if the company that is validating your content or hosting your content goes out of business. Amazon seems like a safe bet, but its younger than anyone posting to these forums. What if I have a Nook and want to switch to a Kindle? Now the water is muddy and as a consumer I am much less likely to make a purchase, unless it is offered at a steep discount.

    The same applies if the answer is "no" - I subscribe to netflix, and if I cancel my account, I don't get to watch any of those movies again. The price point for the streaming service is so low, though, I feel like it is worth it.

    So there is an interesting takeaway - would you pay $15/mo for access to amazon's full eBook Library? I sure as hell would. Who knows how they would pay authors at that point though.
    • CommentAuthoradrian r
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2011
    This interests me as someone about to enter the e-publishing market, and with my copywriting hat on. Laz is right about how the task of selling the concept is made easier by using existing paradigms. So, is a good solution to be found in matching the new model with something pre-existing? That would make sense, given innate human inertia where novelty is concerned.

    youdothatvoodoo -- blame it on the boogie
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeApr 21st 2011
    So there is an interesting takeaway - would you pay $15/mo for access to amazon's full eBook Library? I sure as hell would. Who knows how they would pay authors at that point though.

    Yes I would. I wouldn't be surprised if Google moved to such a system too, opening up all those "previewable" books as well as the public domain ones. Not sure how I'd feel about that, as there is a lot of copyfraud going on there and they'd need to address that first before I'd give them my money.