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Options For Subscription Models: A BOOKEXPO Panel

At BookExpo next month, I’m moderating “Demystifying subscription models: Current and emerging options”. The panel, which was put together by Sally Dedecker for BookExpo America’s education program, includes:

Andrew Savikas of Safari Books Online
Justo Hidaldo of 24symbols
Richard Nash of Byliner

The panel takes place on Wednesday, May 28 at 11 a.m. in the Javits Center meeting room 1E07. We’ve put together a program that is Powerpoint-free and built around a set of questions designed to showcase various business models, offer arguments that favor subscription access and explain how publishers can get involved. There will also be time for questions from those attending.

The program description we’ve provided to BookExpo provides some good background on why this panel might be useful for publishers attending the event:

In the last decade, other content industries (film, television and music) have seen the advent and growth of digital subscription services. While the book publishing business is sometimes viewed as a laggard, certain vertical markets have supported digital subscription models for several years. Examples of multi-publisher digital services include Safari Books Online (technology) and CourseSmart (higher education).

More recently, startups like 24symbols (Spain) and Byliner (U.S.) have garnered attention and at least some publisher support. These services are typically described in terms that parallel other content types: a “Netflix for books”, for example. Although offering general trade titles has been their primary focus to date, some have experimented with other approaches to help them enter and compete in different countries.

While it remains unclear how subscription services will play out within book publishing, a range of models are being tried today. As the value propositions get sorted out, publishers are increasingly interested in the ways that subscription services can help them grow the market for reading across digital platforms.

In this panel, representatives from three different subscription services will describe what they offer readers, how they work with publishers and the lessons they have learned in providing subscription access. The panelists will also talk about how their services might evolve and what publishers should be doing to prepare for subscription services.

If this is a topic you’re interested in exploring, I can offer a couple of recommendations. Burning questions you’d like us to include in the discussion can be added here or e-mailed to me. Alternately, you can come to the session and sit up front where I’ll see you.

You can also complete a survey recently announced by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) to better understand interest in digital subscription models. The survey is open until April 25. The results will be included in a forthcoming BISG research report on subscription access.

I hope to see many of you at the BookExpo panel.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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