eBook Plus Wants to Connect Readers to Authors, End Piracy

eBook Plus logoeBook sales have been skyrocketing since 2011, and the publishing market, of course, has been revolutionized as a result. But as the volume of available e-books grows, so does the consumer piracy of e-books. eBook Plus has been launched with the intention of improving the system.

As a platform that connects readers, authors, publishers and advertisers, eBook Plus’ claim is that it will correct the piracy problem by allowing readers to legally read e-books for free, while at the same time providing advertising opportunities for businesses. Publishers and authors, in other, will presumably have thousands of people reading their books for free, and yet they’ll still get paid. For those of you with print publishing backgrounds, the model is not entirely unlike that of the closed circulation model, in which free publications are entirely supported by ad sales.

According to a release, eBook Plus claims that free e-books are 100 times more accessed than those costing just $0.99. So instead of paying an author, say, $0.30 for a 10-chapter e-book, eBook Plus would pay the author $0.03 for each chapter read. If a particular reader finishes all 10 chapters, in other words, the author will get paid the same $0.30.

eBook Plus is also offering companies the opportunity to put ads at the beginning of each chapter in a book. These ads can be in the form of a video, an image, or HTML page. But instead of being as intrusive and in-you-face as an online pop-up ad, for instance, these ads will be presented to the reader for just a few seconds, after which the reader will be able to procede normally, and without interruption for the rest of the chapter. (Payments that are debited from the advertiser and credited to the author and/or publisher result not from clicks, but impressions.)

To put it another way: The eBook Plus model is a compromise. To many readers, the mere idea of advertisements appearing in books is akin to sacrilege. But for those readers who don’t particularly mind ads, and who might also concerned about the piracy problem, eBook Plus might just make sense.

What do you think?

[Previously posted video deleted due to accusations of poor editorial netiquette. All hairshirts and/or wooden yokes can be FedEx’ed to TeleRead HQ.]

7 Comments on eBook Plus Wants to Connect Readers to Authors, End Piracy

  1. Because streaming TV programs on station websites has worked so well to deter Television piracy on Inernet.. (spoiler, it hasn’t, although there is a percentage of viewers satisfied with that offering, who otherwise might have downloaded from other sources. Make of it what you will.)

  2. I could see this working for mass-market genre and micro-genre fiction and fan fiction. I could not see this being acceptable to someone wanting to read either classical or contemporary “literature”. And it seems if people can be sated with micro-genre pulp and fan fic via free sources, where is eBook Plus’ income stream?

  3. I think it would be horrible to be yanked out of the story I’m reading to view a commercial, no matter how brief. An image might be acceptable.

  4. @rashkae: sorry totally wrong there, first: there are people going to jail, because of illegal filesharing, so if you think that breaking the law will remain mainstream: good luck with that.
    I think the business model could work, as it works in Spotify with Music. 15M unique active users, 4M premium.

  5. Videos that start unbidden, such as in this article, are very bad form or poor netiquette if you prefer. Or was that an illustration of the intrusiveness potential of adverts in eBooks?

  6. Ha! No, I’m afraid it wasn’t a clever metaphor, Frank … although I kind of wish I could say it was! The truth is that I didn’t realize the video started up automatically—I pulled it from YouTube, I think, and I’ve never had that problem before. My apologies – and thanks for pointing it out. And because I don’t want to be accused of displaying poor ‘netiquette,’ I’ll remove it at once, posthaste. On the double, as it were. Without hesitation, and so forth.

  7. I think this could be a good compromise–as long as you still had the option to buy the book ad-free. I can see a potential for added inconvenience in the area of pausing to reread a previous chapter, skimming, or returning to re-read an old book, but it offers an interesting option that could serve something of the same purpose as public libraries. It would be a mistake, however, to think it would end piracy. The ads will be an inconvenience, and people will try to get around them, just as they try to subvert the restrictions of ad-supported video streaming sites. Sure, lots of people don’t want to pirate, and piracy isn’t the root of all evil… But lots of people just want to break the law and steal things, for whatever end, and it’s still the authors who suffer most.

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