Let’s face it, you either know someone or are someone who subscribes to a monthly video or music service. Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify have changed the way users consume digital media. Is it so far-fetched that the same thing could happen for ebooks? There are several companies that are trying their best to convince you that ebook subscription services are the future of reading. They include Scribd, Playster, and the the hulking behemoth that is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. And while subscription services haven’t taken off in the same way as movies or music, the real question is, are they right for you?
Utilizing the digital realm to house publishers’ supplemental material is a win-win endeavor for publishers. It’s low risk and low investment.
Every couple of years, it gets easier to make websites look the way we want them to. First, there was just HTML coding, where cheesy-looking animated candle frames were often as fancy as it got. Then CSS came along and let us add structure to sites: drop shadows, new colors and shapes, more easy-on-the-eyes navigation. Then content management systems like Wordpress made it so regular people (like me) can make cool-looking websites.
As with ebooks, two of the biggest players in the audiobook world are Amazon (owner of the subscription-based service Audible) and Apple, whose digital iTunes store provides an extensive distribution platform. In the global market, Amazon and Apple had an exclusive audiobook deal dating back to before Amazon had even acquired Audible in 2008. The deal was that Apple would only be able to stock audiobooks from Audible in the iTunes store, and Audible could only supply their audiobooks to Apple’s iTunes store.