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's fiction has appeared in 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, and elsewhere and nonfiction has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, The Negatives, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He is the Deputy Editor of The Rumpus, holds an MA in English from Rutgers University, tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →