Monday, July 4, 2016

Guest Post: How to Choose an Ebook Subscription Service

I have something very special and completely new today. I actually have a guest post for you. Cassie, whose author info is down towards the end of the post, is from Culture Coverage, and she’s written a short piece all about how to choose an ebook subscription service. 

Yeah, I didn’t even know such things existed until I read this article. Guess what I’ll be checking out and mulling over my options for in the very near future. (It’s not a very hard guess, is it?)

Anywho, I’ll let Cassie, and her very informative article tell you more about what I obviously know very little about.

Take it away, Cassie!


How to Choose an Ebook Subscription Service

Ebooks have made it easier than ever before to get your fill of your favorite authors. The instant-access format means you can grab a book no matter where you are and never be left without a good bit of reading.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen many of the biggest name eBook retailers try their hand at subscription services. Described as “the Netflix of Books,” the offer lets you pay monthly for unlimited access to all the stories in their library. While this is a massive benefit for enthusiastic readers, the services do have some serious drawbacks, so here are some points to consider before you sign-up!

Benefits of Subscribing

There are several reasons why choosing to subscribe, rather than making individual purchases, is a great option. First, if you’re someone who goes through a lot of books per month then you’re highly likely to save some money by using one of these services.

However, a more unconsidered benefit comes from one of the security flaws that have arisen from most e-reader services. The problem is that, when using a product like the Kindle, which allows you to make direct purchases from Amazon, it’s very easy for hackers to access your credit card details. Before now, using a Virtual Private Network was probably the only way to overcome this problem. Using a subscription format instead, however, means that you don’t have to be constantly inputting your credit card information and putting yourself at risk!

The Situation

Right now, ebook subscription services are in their infancy. There is no major player with a monopoly on the market and the companies who have invested in the pursuit are seemingly not in a great position. Scribd has long been one of the biggest names in the eBook subscription market and sits as one of the cheapest options available, coming in at just $8.99 per month. However, recent changes have meant a cull to the amount of literature available on the service.

On the other hand, Kindle Unlimited is now posing serious competition as, for just $9.99 a month, users can access a wide range of Amazon-based content for no charge. This includes a fantastic range of young adult books, with over 400 webpages of novels eligible for the subscription alongside classics from nearly every other genre imaginable.

Fears of Closure

Very recently, another leading contender in the world of eBook subscription shut down for good. Oyster has been around since 2013, and coined the “Netflix of books” phrase long before anyone else considered the concept. So it was with great surprise that the company announced its complete closure in 2015. It has long been discussed whether the longevity of this kind of service was feasible. It’s alarming closures such as this that give weight to critic’s arguments.

Alongside this, with the previously mentioned changes put in place by Scribd, it looks as if the industry as a whole is having to cut back. Whether this is the case or not, the best recommendation we can give is to stick to options whose parent companies have enough resources that they’re not at risk of going under any time soon.

Moving Forward

However, there are other ways to interpret Oyster’s closure. Reports have surfaced that the sudden decision may have been instigated by Google offering jobs to many of Oyster’s innovation employees. Rumors have been sparked of a complete acquisition of the company, and the brand re-launching under Google’s name.

Whilst there have been no confirmed reports of this, it’s clear that Google is looking for the brain power to expand eBook services. What we might actually be seeing is the eBook subscription concept finally finding the commercial backing it’s been looking for.

Alternative Options

If you’re not ready to commit to a subscription yet, there are still plenty of great options available. Goodreads is a fantastic resource, that gives you in-depth reviews and ranking, as well as links to purchase, so you can easily find and get your hands on awesome new reads. Their YA section is huge, and there are lots of fantastic sub-categories to help you narrow down your search.

Similarly, Powell’s is another great bookstore that has whole sections for young adult, romance, fantasy – and almost anything else you can think of. Of course, there’s always still the regular Kindle store, which doesn’t require you to subscribe to purchase books. It also has many free ebooks available to download for your enjoyment!

Choosing a subscription service is not an easy task, but it could save you money. With so much turbulence in the industry at the moment, however, it’s important to choose wisely. If you have any more tips or advice for which to pick, be sure to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your opinions!

About The Author: Cassie is an entertainment and technology blogger and an avid reader. She loves how to advent of the internet has transformed the way we read and hopes she can share the tips she’s learned with fellow bookworms.

Note: The article's contents were not written or provided by Shell's Stories.

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