A few days ago it emerged PRH titles were disappearing from the Storytel, Nextory and Bookbeat platforms.
The assumption at the time was that PRH was unhappy with the model, and in a statement to the Swedish trade journal Boktugg today, updating the January 13 post, PRH confirmed as much.
At this point in time, Penguin Random House has decided that we will not participate in subscription models with unlimited access. Our decision was made jointly by the company’s international management team to protect a variety of content on the market and the actual and perceived long-term value of our authors’ intellectual property rights.
No real surprises there, but also no real logic.
Here’s the thing: Such a position is quite understandable in relation to Scribd in the USA, for example, where offering titles in an unlimited access service clearly has the potential to cannibalise regular digital and print sales.
But when sending English-language titles to Storytel, Bookbeat and Nextory, none of which operate in the US, and only one in the UK (Bookbeat), where is the cannibalization going to happen?
But today, in a speculative post from Sölve Dahlgren at Boktugg, comes the suggestion PRH has pulled titles from the streaming services because it has its own streaming service ready to launch.
Penguin Random House is planning its own streaming service. That is the real reason why they have withdrawn thousands of titles from competitors. Inspired by Disney +, PRH will announce its plans for the United States next week, according to sources.
PRH will present its streaming service for audiobooks in the US next week and then the idea is to roll it out in more countries, says a person with insight into PRH’s plans for Boktugg.
That was earlier today, but the post has since been updated with this comment:
Update: Penguin Random House announces in a first short comment that a streaming service will not be launched next week.
As this post goes live TNPS has been unable to find any other reports to lend substance to this claim, and Boktugg offers no further detail about this comment from PRH, but Boktugg’s Sölve Dahlgren is not given to idle speculation, so we’ll be watching with interest to see if this story has legs, and will bring updates as and when new information appear.
N.B. This post has been updated to correct some translation issues in the first run.
UPDATE 2: PublishNewsEs is reporting that Spanish-language titles have been pulled from Storytel’s Spanish-language markets. LINK.