At the consumer level the unlimited consumption model for a fixed monthly fee has enormous appeal, but tempered by the fact that publishers tend to keep their best titles out of this consumer-friendly option.
The question of whether the all-you-can-eat or the monthly credit model is best for consumers and publishers has no clear cut answer, both models offering benefits.
Which perhaps explains why the growing trend is to offer both, with Japan’s Audiobooks.JP the latest to go down this road.
Obviously at the consumer level the unlimited consumption model for a fixed monthly fee has enormous appeal, but tempered by the fact that publishers tend to keep their best titles out of this consumer-friendly option.
Which in turn means that for consumers wanting a diet of big-name titles the credit model is the one they gravitate to.
But on Audiobook.JP from this month, according to a press release from parent company ottoman, consumers can choose to either pay the monthly subscription (880 yen – $6.80), buy titles using the credit model where one credit gets a book of any price, or for the occasional buyer pay standard retail.
The “ticket” credit comes in two price tiers – 1,500 yen ($11.70) for a single ticket and 2,900 yen ($22.50) for a double, and makes sense for those who want to get their hands on the more expensive frontlist titles not available under the all-you-can-eat.
Publishers will be anxious to reassure us consumers prefer the credit model, but of course we cannot make a meaningful determination on that point when the credit and unlimited models carry very different content ranges.
And publishers will of course continue to ensure the appeal of the credit model by keeping premium content out of the unlimited option.