Scribd, Barnes and Noble add on Audio books

scribdIf you are an audio book fan, today definitely brings exciting news! Scribd has announced that they are adding  30,000 audiobooks to their subscription service. According to their blog:

… That makes us (we’re extremely pleased to say) the largest unlimited e-book & audiobook subscription service around.

Audiobooks have been one of our most requested features since the day we launched, and today we’re so excited to say they’re here.

The service will include new releases and bestsellers. Scribd has greatly expanded their offings this year with the addition of e-books by Harlequin, HarperCollins  and Simon and Schuster. Juli Monroe from TeleRead has some additional info in an article here.

I wasn’t clear from the announcement exactly when the audiobooks would be available on the  service. (It wasn’t yet on my Android tablet as of 9:30 CST.)

Barnes and Noble is also getting back into the audiobook game. The company has also just released a new Android app for purchasing and listening to audio books. The app is still in beta but seems to have good reviews on Google Play.

In comparison, Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription only has about 2,ooo titles.

Audible, also owned by Amazon, still has the largest selection of audiobooks with over 150,000 titles available.

It is exciting to see so many new options for audiobooks becoming available. 🙂

A Return to Agency Pricing…

money fightSimon and Schuster has reached an agreement with Amazon to return to agency pricing, according to a report from Digital Book World. The deal is to go into effect January 1, 2015  and is said to  apply to both print and e-books. According to the rumored term s, “Amazon’s prerogative to discount the publisher’s ebooks is sharply limited.”  There is no word if this will have any effect on the negotiations between Amazon and Hachette.

*Sigh*

Personally, I think this is very disappointing news. As someone who buys a lot of e-books, I still think that most of the Big Publishing House e-books are priced too high, especially many backlist books. I boycott any e-books priced over $9.99 and have had to leave several series unfinished because of pricing issues.  I also reject e-books that are priced as high as their paper versions. IMHO, this is not a move that is good for consumers.

I do predict that this will be good for the subscription services, however, especially if publishers try to return to the $12.99 to $14.99 price points. That monthly fee for Scribd or Oyster or Kindle Unlimited probably just got more attractive.

It is also probably good news for indie authors, at least in the short term. I am not convinced that books are necessarily interchangeable. I think I am somewhat of an anomaly because I am willing to abandon a series based on price or principle.

How do you feel about the news?

 

 

 

Daily Links: KU and Google Play expand overseas, more

From Teleread, the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program finally launches in the UK.

Google Play Books launches in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine, from The Digital Reader.

From Publishers, weekly, Mother of Columbine Shooter sells her memoir to Crown books; the proceeds are going to charity.

You may have heard that Barnes and Noble no longer allows you to download your e-book purchases via the web. The Digital Reader offers a work around here.

And from Recode, This new IOS update is causing problems. Here’s a survival guide.

Worse than Heartbleed? There a bug in the BASH shell that affects Linux, Unix, even  OS X.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news.

 

 

Is Kindle Unlimited worth the price?

Amazon has introduced the Kindle Unlimited (KU for short) subscription service and it seems to have created quite a buzz.

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It offers unlimited access to over 600,000 Kindle books and over 2,000 audiobooks with Whispersync for Voice. You can keep up to ten books at a time and there are no due dates. You can read your Kindle Unlimited books on any Kindle device or any of free Kindle reading apps.

For new subscribers, there is a free 30-day trial. That also includes a free Audible membership for up to three months. The Kindle Unlimited subscription includes 3 free Audible books (even if you are already a subscriber).

  • If you like to own books
  • If you like to read bestsellers
  • If you read very few indie published books
  • If you only read a few books every month
  • If you read mostly free books or classics
  • If you mostly buy books on sale
  • You already have an Audible membership
  • If you are already a Prime member and satisfied with one free book rental per month.

In that case, Kindle Unlimited may not be a good value for you.

The answer may be yes if the following is true:

  • If you need to read on e-ink only
  • If you read mostly indie authors
  • If you read lots of short stories and short non-fiction books
  • If you want more than one book per month from KOLL
  • If you don’t have an actual Kindle or Kindle Fire device (read on app, tablet, computer or phone)
  • If you use Whispersync to switch back and forth with audio for a lot of books
  • If you do not re-read books or do not want to own every book you read.
  • If you spend a lot each month on books that are also in the KOLL Library.

But what if you find that points from both lists apply to your situation?

First, browse or search available books  to see the offerings.

Compare the list of books in the KU program to to your Wishlist or TBR (To Be Read) list.

If you already subscribe to Scribd or Oyster, compare the lists of available books on those services to see which one offers you the most value.

Lastly, tale a look at your monthly book budget, your spending history and what types of book you are reading to see if the service is cost effective.

A case study:

I am going to use myself as a case study. 🙂 Here’s the background: I am an avid reader whose reading time is more constrained than I would like. I have both e-ink Kindles and Kindle Fire tablets. I like to own books and re-read favorites. I prefer to read on e-ink versus a tablet or phone.  I am already a Prime Member and also have an Audible membership. I rarely use Whispersync. I do have an Open Library membership. I also have a membership to Scribd (a gift), although not being able to use it on an e-ink device limits its usefulness for me – I haven’t yet finished one Scribd book.

Not including re-reads, I generally read 1-2 full length books per week (fiction and non-fiction). I also read serials, short stories and short non-fiction works. Since I only read e-books any more, I am replacing my print copies of old favorites with e-books. 

I like to read a variety of books.I read almost every kind of fiction, but primarily enjoy read classics, mysteries and thrillers, SF and horror. In non-fiction, I enjoy history, and anthropology, self-help, spirituality,motivational reading and how-to books. More than half of the authors I read are indies and small press titles. Many of the short stories, non-fiction booklets and new authors I read come from trying books that are offered for free. If I like them, I then generally buy new and backlist titles of the author’s works. I refuse to pay more than $9.99 for a license to read an e-book and pay close attention to sales like the Kindle Daily Deal and price reductions for bestseller and backlist purchases. I frequently try new authors via the KOLL library, but there are months that I actually forget to borrow my free book.

I went back and looked at my book purchases for the month of June. Most of the paid books I purchased last month are NOT available as part of the Kindle Unlimited service. Two of my June purchases, Dead Spots and Trail of Dead, were originally KOLL borrows that I liked so much I went back and purchased copies to own when they were on sale. Most of the free books I picked up that month were gardening books for my container gardening project that I probably would not have gotten if they weren’t free.

I concluded that, at least for me, I probably would not have saved any money in the program. Because I already have access to most of the books already (either through KOLL or as free promotional books), I feel that it is doubtful the Kindle Unlimited program would be worth the extra cost to me.

I do intend to look back over a few more months’ past purchases to see if that data looks any different. And, I intend to watch my purchases over the next few weeks to see if a perhaps a subscription might seem to be worthwhile. Being able to read on and e-ink device would be a big plus. After all, Amazon is offering a 30 day free trial, so I can always change my mind. 🙂

What about you? Is the Kindle Unlimited program attractive to you?