Sunday, July 19, 2015

Exclusive – Entitle eBook Subscription Service Shutting Down


Entitle is one of the many companies now participating in the entire Netflix for e-books concept. They never managed to standout in a crowded marketplace that includes Amazon, Scribd and Oyster and never generated enough revenue to stay in business.  Starting July 21st 2015, Entitle will be closing and they are recommending their existing customers join Scribd.

Entitle, formerly named eReatah, allowed members to read two books a month  $9.99, $14.99 for 3 books/month, and $19.99 for 4 books/month Members will own and have permanent access to any books they download regardless of their subscription status with Entitle, and these books can be read on up to six devices. Members can read books on the newly-launched Entitle e-reading app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

There are over 200,000 titles on the Entitle platform from over a thousand publishers, including Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Kensington Books, Berrett-Koehler, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Workman Publishing, Sourcebooks, Open Road Media, RosettaBooks and many more. Entitle is the only eBook subscription company to secure content deals with more than one of the major corporate publishers, and has titles such as Doctor Sleep, Life of Pi, Duck Dynasty's Si-ology 101, Beautiful Ruins, Miracles and Massacres, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, The Storyteller, The Bully Pulpit, Happy, Happy, Happy, Remy, Beautiful Beginning and many more. A few months ago the company became the first subscription service by launching a paid e-book store.

Scribd and Oyster have garnered the lion-share of Silicon Valley investment capital, but Entitle was only able to raise $5.4 million when they first launched. The lack of revenue over the course of the last four years basically destroyed the company.

It is no surprise that Entitle is closing, many industry experts are in agreement that the current e-book subscription system is deeply flawed. Not enough publishers have not committed front-list titles that are on the current New York Times bestseller lists. Instead, they only contribute older titles that have been around for a few years and any serious reader has already borrowed them from the library or bought it.

Tim Hely Hutchinson, chief of Hachette UK simply sees the current generation of e-book websites as not being viable. ""people are always pitching new models to me, and the first thing I say is that the existing model works really well. I don't believe in subscription. I don't see how it would do anything other than cannibalize the business we already have. I know other people take a different view. Within the limits of the law, I hope [HarperCollins UK c.e.o.] Charlie Redmayne will explain it to me, because I don't get it." Neither is he interested in selling direct—"I don't think the consumer wants it. The last thing I think we should be doing it undermining our customers, the retailers.""

Meanwhile Hachette Livre chairman and c.e.o. Arnaud Nourry said in a recent interview that e-book subscription sites are a flawed idea. "Offering subscriptions at a monthly fee that is lower than the price of one book is absurd," he said. "For the consumer, it makes no sense. People who read two or three books a month represent an infinitesimal minority. And there are bookshops. If I seem like a dinosaur, so be it. My colleagues at Penguin Random House say the same thing."

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