For all its growth, the e-book market has been stillborn in one major way: monetizing itself. But recent news that a Spanish company called 24Symbols went into beta on a an e-book service, which includes both ad-supported and subscription options, shows that maybe digital publishing could truly be evolving from a one-trick pony into a showhorse.
Unlike online video, music and video games, e-books only really put money into the publisher’s pocket through sell-through. The other content types offer many payment methods for consumers: rental, subscription, ad-supported and sales. Add in windowing, and the sophistication (and overall revenue opportunities) are much more ample in markets like video.
For the last year, however, some have started to think maybe e-books could start to emulate other content models. There’s been talk of ad-supported e-books, while others have looked at subscription-based e-book plans, or what some have called Netflix for e-books.