Smashword predictions: Subscriptions and Movie/TV tie-ins

Source: Smashwords blog, Dec 2012

19.  Ebook subscription offerings will face uphill slog

In 2012 there was a wave of promising startups talking about creating the “Spotify of Ebooks,” or the “Netflix of ebooks.”  I admit, at first the notion of an all-you-can-read smorgasbord of reading material held appeal to me.  I’m always interested to consider new models of book distribution that help us achieve our overall mission of connecting our authors with readers.  However, as the year progressed and new subscription hopefuls came to the fore, I found my enthusiasm waning.

Ebook prices are declining as authors and publishers compete on price.  Indies have released thousands of high-quality books priced at FREE, more than any voracious book lover could ever read in a lifetime.  Traditional publishers are dropping their ebook prices to become more competitive – even independent of the DoJ’s ill-conceived crackdown on agency publishers.  Ebooks are already free or dirt cheap, and likely to become cheaper as big publishers drop their prices, so the potential advantages of an all-you-can-read buffet are diminishing.  The challenge for some enterprising entrepreneur is to find a method of connecting books to readers that’s more effective and profitable than what the major retailers are already doing, and that’s a tall order because the retailers are doing an awesome job.

21. Indie ebooks will start driving more film & television projects

Books have long been a popular source of material for film and television producers.  A proven bestseller means that audiences find the story compelling, and this increases the appeal to film and television producers for a couple of reasons:  

1.  A successful book creates a built-in audience more likely to want to view the film or television derivative.   

2.  A successful book helps lower the risk to the film or television producer because the story has already proven itself an audience-pleaser in the marketplace.

A film or TV deal is great news for the author and publisher, because it sells more books.  It helps more prospective readers discover the story or want to read the story again. The dynamic between publishers and film and television producers is not perfect, however.  Most books come out 12 months or later after the publisher acquires it, so if a book is sold to film or television before publication, the film/television producers face the risk that they begin production only to learn later that the story didn’t resonate with readers.

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