The ebook subscription model seems to have hit a bump. According to Smashwords’ Mark Coker, Scribd is cutting its romance and erotica catalog.
Effective immediately, I estimate 80-90 percent of Smashwords romance and erotica titles will be dropped by Scribd, including nearly all of our most popular romance titles. Books priced at free are safe and will remain in their catalog.
The reason? Romance and erotica readers are devouring these titles, and Scribd pays retailer-level margins for books. It seems Scribd cannot currently sustain this model since it has to pay authors when books are read.
Scribd stated in a letter than the site has grown from 100,000 books to one million, and it is now looking for long-term solutions.
The cutting of these titles is not just affecting Smashwords, but across several publishers as written by Bob Mayer who received a similar letter from Draft2Digital.
As companies adjust based on new data and information it receives, there are going to be some casualties. Seemingly, one of the first in the subscription model business is romance writers and readers.
The ebook subscription model is one that has been questioned since its inception with many offering differing opinions. There was always going to be the problem of what happens if people read something too much – and now we are here. It’s good to know that romance authors have a rabid fan base, but it doesn’t seem as though they are the people that are welcomed.