Macmillan Tests Ebook Subscriptions
Today Macmillan became the third Big 5 publisher to make its works available on ebook subscriptions sites Oyster and Scribd, joining HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. As part of the deal Macmillan made roughly 1,000 ebooks available, helping to grow the Oyster's library to over 1 million titles and Scribd's to over half a million.
The move to subscription comes as no surprise. In a year-end letter to staff Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote that, "We plan to try subscription with backlist books, and mostly with titles that are not well represented at bricks and mortar retail stores."
In the letter Sargent also intimated that he still had reservations about the subscription model, fearing that it may erode book sales. But, he said, "given the current financial and strategic incentives being offered, we believe the time is right to try this test."
In the August issue of Book Business, we featured an in-depth interview with Matthew Shatz, head of strategy and partnerships at Oyster. Shatz believes that today's book readers are motivated by a desire for easy access to content and will increasingly gravitate toward subscription models. "...Consumers really love the access model," said Shatz in the article. "The convenience of having content at their fingertips is really powerful for consumers, as shown by Spotify and Netflix, which had already gained some momentum."