Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Is Apple Getting into E-Book Subscriptions?

The e-book subscription-service bandwagon is starting to get pretty crowded. Oyster and Scribd keep growing and Amazon recently launched its Kindle Unlimited program, which provides assess to around 600,000 e-titles for $9.95 a month.

Now, Apple may be angling to get into the game, according to Andrew Rhomberg, founder of the start-up Jellybooks, which is focused on sampling and sharing e-books. Rhomberg predicted in a Digital Book World article that Apple’s purchase of the e-book recommendation service BookLamp earlier this year could have the company launching a subscription service before the end of the year.

Subscription services must find ways to keep customers paying the monthly fee, and recommendations put interesting things to listen, watch, or read in front of subscribers. It’s sometimes less about the bestsellers and more about providing subscribers with the titles in which they are most likely interested, which is where the algorithms used by the recommendation services come into play.

“Serving up relevant recommendations (and sometimes that means genre fiction rather than literary fiction) is critical to keeping subscribers engaged,” Rhomberg wrote. “Thus the acquisition of BookLamp by Apple could possibly herald Apple’s entry into e-book subscription services.”

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