While US and UK publishers watch the Scandinavian experiment from a safe distance, a mixture of envy and fear in their eyes, Sweden’s BookBeat goes from strength to strength, leaving no doubt that, whatever publishers may feel about the subscription model, consumers love it.
Bookbeat’s June, July and August revenue grew 97% compared to 2017, while subscriber numbers in Sweden and Finland were up respectively by 26,000 and 17,000. In total Bookbeat now has over 100,000 subscribers across four countries (Sweden, Finland, Germany and, for what it’s worth, the UK).
In a press statement Bookbeat CEO Niclas Sandin said,
Summer 2018 was the third since we launched on the Swedish and Finnish markets and is undoubtedly our best so far. In addition to our market team doing really good summer campaigns, we estimate that improvements to the offer through family accounts, for example, contributed to the record.
In the UK Bookbeat has struggled, not because of consumer resistance but because publishers are unwilling to embrace the subscription model.
In Germany, where BookBeat has been in beta this past year, testing the waters, things look a little brighter.
The first year in Germany has in many ways been better than the start in Sweden and Finland. For example, we see higher average listening and loyalty from our first thousand German users. Now that we have proved the service and brought with us the drivers on the train, we are planning to increase the pace of our investment in the German market next year.
In January Bookbeat grabbed an executive from Amazon’s Audible DE operation to bolster BookBeat DE’s chance.
As part of Bonnier, BookBeat, which launched in 2016, doesn’t usually share much information but on this occasion disclosed it expected to see 100% growth for the full year, with turnover of 100 million kronor ($11.1 million).