Wednesday, February 05, 2014

BISG Launches Research Study into Subscription Models

From the BISG and we are excited that the Publishing Technology business unit PCG is helping with the research.

Study of subscription models for published content to be the industry's first
The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) is pleased to announce a major new research initiative to study subscription models of selling published content.
Given the success of digital subscription services in the film, television, and music industries, publishing industry stakeholders have wondered how and when these services will affect book content distribution. While the range of possible models is vast, it is unclear whether the current needs and trends suggest a ”Netflix” model with a deep and broad catalog or whether more focused verticals will continue to develop. And what are the attitudes of agents, authors, publishers, and librarians toward these new distribution models? What factors will motivate or dissuade them from participating?
To answer these questions, BISG has contracted with Ted Hill of THA Consulting working with Emilie Delquie of Publishers Communications Group (PCG), a division of Publishing Technology, to conduct a research study to identify the various business models employed by US-based digital content subscription services. This research will provide a clear picture of how content producers and others in the publishing value chain are reacting to these new forces in the marketplace.
“There is enough interest in and activity around digital subscription models right now,” said BISG executive director Len Vlahos, “that it became clear to us that research was warranted. We’re delighted to be working with Ted Hill and PCG on this project and look forward to what will be the first really comprehensive look at this landscape.”
A report of the findings will be published in summer 2014, with preliminary findings presented at BISG’s Making Information Pay Conference at IDPF’s Digital Book 2014 at BEA.
Safari Books Online, the on-demand digital learning library for technology, digital media, and business professionals, has joined as the lead Sponsor for BISG's subscription research survey. Other Sponsors to date include Wiley, the American Library Association, and Sally Dedecker Enterprises. For more information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jeanette Zwart at For more information about the Subscription Research Study, email Nadine Vassallo at


Inkling said...

It's good to see the BISG studying subscription models, but the market itself has already kicked in. Within a couple of years, we'll not only know if it works, but what works best. My hunch is that the little known Inkbok is going to end up the winner. They're about half the price of the others and have a business model that's virtually no-risk.

Of far more value would be an investigation of what library checkout models work. Are ebooks like lawnmowers? Should the entity loaning have to buy an ebook for each copy they loan, or does renting digital need a dramatically different model--perhaps a per checkout fee based on no-limits on size collection? That publishing needs to know.

And the two business areas aren't mutually exclusive. If the subscription model takes off, it could draw the busiest readers away from public libraries, leaving them with less support in these troubled times.

--Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

MC said...

Michael - Nice to hear from you. I will let Ted know about Inkbok. I agree looking into library models is also needed. Maybe I will suggest that to BISG as a follow-on project.