New Deals around Subscription Content

Playster Librify Findaway Scribd subscription ebooks audiobooksTwo deals announced yesterday reflect some of the changes afoot in the market for subscription ebooks.

Newcomer Playster, whose app is still in beta, adds 50,000 audiobooks to its subscription catalog through a partnership with the digital content distributor Findaway. And separately Scribd announces it’s acquired the social e-reading platform Librify.

Both moves can be seen as efforts to develop the most robust possible content offering and e-reading experience for subscribers in a market whose contours are shifting.

Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited rolled out a new royalty model just last week. Meanwhile, Scribd and Playster remain confident that multiple forms of media can coexist on the same platform, while competitors bet otherwise. Oyster, in the ebooks-only camp, has launched an ebookstore alongside its subscription catalog and added light-sensitive technology to improve night reading.

More on the latest two deals here and here.

Related: Audiobooks Lead Ebooks in Still-Modest Subscription Market

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A recent Deloitte study of media purchasing and consumption habits among millennials in the UK suggests younger readers are among the least likely to buy ebooks despite consuming video and TV at a rapid clip. In a report based on the findings, researchers conclude that “authors, publishers and retailers must do more to appeal to younger audiences in order to remain commercially relevant.”
Related: More Research Points to Millennials’ Print Preferences

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Related: How Audience Research Can Minimize Marketing Missteps

Angie’s List Sues Amazon Local (ABC News)
The new program Amazon launched this year in order to connect customers with local repair and home service providers now has legal trouble from Angie’s List, which charges Amazon with having “chosen the shortcut of surreptitiously accessing and misappropriating Angie’s List’s proprietary information” in order to set up shop.

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Related: Publishing Start-ups Sound off on Failure, Pivoting and Failing to Pivot

About that German Erotica Curfew… (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Recent reports that Germany would begin enforcing a ban on selling adult-themed ebooks before 10pm appear to have overstated the case. While the law in question remains very much on the books, ebook retailers will reportedly only need to verify customers’ ages rather than restrict their sale of certain titles to after dark.

Penguin Consolidates Mass Market Lines (PW)
Berkley Publishing Group will absorb the New American Library, two Penguin divisions dedicated to mass market paperbacks, a category in which sales have charted a steady industry-wide decline in recent years.

Alibaba Expands Anti-Piracy Commitment (Tech News Today)
Building on an earlier agreement, Alibaba establishes a framework with a Chinese anti-piracy organization in order to improve the e-tailer’s procedures for identifying and eliminating digital content being sold on Alibaba in violation of copyright protections. Piracy remains a concern for global ebook publishers and distributors eyeing China’s vast book market.
Related: Weighing Opportunity in China


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