Friday, June 24, 2011

The Value of Access

Today we introduced a new, potentially disruptive, digital book selling paradigm through For the first time ever readers are able to purchase access to our content based on their access need: 24-hours, 30-days, and unlimited. Most books will be available for $.99 for 24-hours.

If you are an avid fiction reader you may be thinking 24-hour access is worthless, and you'd be right unless you're a speed-reader or if you'd prefer to sample an entire book instead of a single chapter or the percentage you can get from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Google, etc. This new paid access paradigm is an experiment and we may discover our readers want a minimum of 72 hours or that they only access their 30-day content for 2 weeks, but timed access is a model that I think is going to resonate with our users.

Kevin Kelly, one of the founders of Wired magazine, challenged publishers with his "Better than Free" presentation at Tools of Change in February to prepare as though the value of a book in the future will be $0 - $.99. Kelly also talked about the shifting consumer value paradigm from ownership to access--the concept that spending $100 to access a library of 10,000 books is more valuable than spending $100 to own 10 books. We are taking steps to answer Kelly's challenge.

In a blog post "Ebooks. How far? How fast?" Dominique Raccah of Sourcebooks pointed out how nonfiction categories of "dippable" books are lagging in the ebook market. The Bible is the quintessential "dippable" text, with readers often dipping into several different sections in one sitting. The ebook industry to date has been established on narrative text--fiction, history, business, leadership--anything you can read from beginning to end. But, try to read any kind of complex text on a simple text reading device or app and you are in for a rough experience. The Kindle or Nook are not the best delivery vehicles for reference books, textbooks, and the like. If you've ever tried to follow a sermon reading a Bible on the Kindle and had to navigate its 66 books and 1189 chapters by the table of contents, you know exactly what I mean.

The Bible is a unique text that is central to the Christian life and a common thread in everything we publish. is a platform built to deliver a superior experience for reading and studying the Bible, and discovering other related content. The Bible itself becomes the circuitry connecting any content that references the Bible to any other content making the same reference. Our vision is to provide free, affordable, and accessible world-class biblical solutions for leaders and Christians around the world. Not all our users can afford a $500 set of commentaries, but $20 per month may be a more affordable option for them.

It is an exciting future as you imagine this system becoming extensible in a transmedia age, linking not only text but images, sermons, music, blog posts and other content, all discoverable and accessible through the lens of Scripture.

"For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any two-edged sword" Hebrews 4:12

1 comment:

rickreding said...

Great Idea! Good to see Christian publishing taking this approach, especially in regard to Bible Study. As scriptures are truly "the living word of God", it comes alive with new meaning every time we tap into it. This is the only book that never gets old and continues to provide relevance in any life regardless of the culture or time we live in. The 35-Under demographics are already mobile, with over 90% of the worlds population owning a mobile phone and having a quality Bible Study available for pennies, is right on. There is enormous untapped value in this approach and the world is your marketplace. Way to go!