24symbols’ ebook subscription service is now live

It’s been compared to Spotify and Pandora in the music space, and I called it the Netflix of ebooks back in April. Now after a closed beta period, the Spanish company 24symbols has officially launched to the public with ad-supported and premium subscription memberships. At launch, the service has about 1000 titles, and although it’s browser based the company says an iOS app is undergoing approval right now. Update: A commenter points out that currently anyone can sign up for the free ad-supported plan, including U.S. residents; the premium plan appears to be E.U. only.

Here’s a little more information from an article at paidContent:

24symbols’ premium version is ad free and allows for offline reading. The paid service is €9,99€ ($14.45) per month, €19,99€ per quarter or €59,99€ per year. That’s similar to the cost of Spotify, which is available internationally for €9,99 per month, but pricier than Pandora (NYSE: P), which is $36 for a one-year premium subscription.

Publishers receive 70 percent of a book’s revenue, and 24symbols keeps 30 percent. Revenue is based on the number of page views—i.e., the number of times an actual page of a book is read compared to the overall number of pages read across all titles. Publishers can include their books in both the free ad-supported area of the site and in the paid area or can limit them to either one of those. “The number of pages read will be now the success-measuring unit of a certain book, instead of the number of books sold,” 24symbols writes in a PDF on its website.

Have any Teleread visitors tried it out? If so, I’d love to read your reactions in the comments below.

24symbols.com

1 Comment on 24symbols’ ebook subscription service is now live

  1. I missed the part about it not being available in the US and signed up. Apparently they haven’t put any geographic restriction measures in place yet. Near as I could tell, almost all of their content consists of English-language works in the public domain. Covers for those books cleverly use some sort of random pattern generator. There are a few Spanish-language books with custom covers, and I’m guessing they’re the copyrighted titles in their collection. Either that or I was viewing a limited selection due to not being a premium customer. The interface overall feels like an iPad app, and I’m guessing the actual app they’ve submitted to Apple is probably just a wrapper around the website. The interface to read an e-book reminds me of Kindle for PC and Kindle for Web. I haven’t used Kindle for iPad yet, so I’m not sure if the interface is the same between all of them. In any case, so long as it supports swiping gestures it should work fine. There are buttons to increase / decrease font size, access table of contents, and manage bookmarks and notes. It appears to load only one chapter into memory at a time, as there’s a noticeable delay when moving to the next chapter. Some books include illustrations. The ads I saw weren’t intrusive at all, and consisted mainly of links to Casadellibro.com, an e-book store. I also saw one for a Lady Gaga album from iTunes. I only saw ads on the book selection screen, not in the reading interface. I suppose they’re still in the process of getting authors / publishers on board, so they’ve used public domain titles to fill out their collection. If this is it, though, what they plan to charge for, I can’t see paying a monthly subscription for it.

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