Are Romance Novels Ruining Subscription Services?

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All-you-can-read subscription services are finding that readers of romance novels are heavy users. The service Scribd is removing some romance titles because voracious sex-fiends are reading too many of the sultry books. Over at Electric Lit, Lincoln Michel explains why heavy users hurt the economics of these services:

Let’s say you are paying creators two bucks an ebook, and most people read two books a month, then you paying four bucks to publishers/authors and keeping 5 bucks yourself. Everybody is happy. Authors and publishers get a fair cut, readers get unlimited books, and Scribd makes a profit. But if a certain subset of readers–romance and erotica fans apparently–start reading five or ten or twenty books a month, then you are losing more money than you earn.


Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →