By paying a monthly fee—Rhapsody charges $10 per month, Spotify charges $5 to $10 per month, and Pandora charges $3 per month— users can listen to any music the service offers either through a desktop app on their computer or through a mobile app for their mobile device.
Rhapsody houses 14 million songs, Spotify offers over 15 million songs, while Pandora (the cheapest service) has 900,000 songs. None of these services offer a completely comprehensive listing of every song ever recorded. While enormous, these databases are missing albums by Metallica, Frank Zappa, and The Beatles, to name a few. Many of these artists have been hesitant to license their music for streaming.
I wonder how long until we will begin to see similar services for digital books?
Amazon.com has already begun a service like this for their Amazon Premier members. It is the Kindle Lending Library. Amazon Premier members pay a monthly fee for special services from Amazon.com. One of these services is access to the Kindle Lending Library. Premier members can check out one Kindle ebook per month. They must return each book before they can check out another book.
To entice publishers to participate and allow their books to be placed in the Lending Library, Amazon has created a pool of money for each month of 2012. This money is being used to pay authors and publishers whose books are checked out through the Lending Library. Basically, the pool of money is divided among all the authors and publishers whose books have been checked out during the month, so payment is made based on the number of times a book has been checked out.
There are also a couple of startups that are in the process of setting up ebook subscription services for readers to have unlimited access the ebooks in their database, much like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Spotify do for music. (Christian Small Publishers Association will take a look at these services in our next member newsletter). After all, it’s a matter not of will, but of when these services will launch.
The only question remaining is: Will your books be part of such a service?