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Legimi unfurls its ambition to become the new Spotify for eBooks

Pol­ish start­up Legi­mi could be about to inau­gu­rate a high­ly pop­u­lar new busi­ness mod­el with its plan to become the “Spo­ti­fy for eBooks”.

E‑commerce man­agers, web con­tent man­agers and e‑commerce ana­lysts alike may be intrigued by its new con­sump­tion mod­el for the eBook space. Why buy some­thing you’ll prob­a­bly only use once? Why not pay a mod­est sub­scrip­tion instead and read what­ev­er you like month in, month out?

What’s new about the Legi­mi model?

The idea isn’t unprece­dent­ed – Ama­zon’s Kin­dle Own­ers’ Lend­ing Library, as its name implies offers a lend­ing ser­vice but it’s very lim­it­ed and light years away from being a “Spo­ti­fy for eBooks”. Legi­mi, by con­trast, ful­ly intends to har­ness the pow­er of the cloud to deliv­er a vir­tu­al­ly infi­nite reper­toire of read­ing mate­r­i­al for its sub­scribers, who can access the con­tent via smart­phones, tablets, desk­tops and inter­net-enabled TVs.

The startup’s CEO and co-founder, Miko­laj Malaczyn­s­ki, explains his unique approach, “Our approach is dif­fer­ent; we pay the whole price of an eBook once an end-user exceeds its free sam­ple (approx­i­mate­ly 10 per­cent of the book). We have sta­tis­ti­cal­ly cal­cu­lat­ed the aver­age con­sump­tion for tablet users and smart­phone users, which is low­er than one book per month.”

Accord­ing to Legimi’s stats, most read­ers don’t exceed the free excerpt lim­it on oth­er titles. But, should they do so, Legi­mi pays the pub­lish­er the full whole­sale price of the book. Pro­vid­ed the num­ber of sub­scribers who read beyond the excerpt lim­it con­forms to the firm’s eco­nom­ic prob­a­bil­i­ty sta­tis­tics, the sub­scrip­tion mod­el could tru­ly take off (and if it does, more pub­lish­ers are like­ly to embrace it).

Is Spo­ti­fy for eBooks com­ing in 2013?

Malaczyn­s­ki con­cedes that the data his firm has gath­ered on aver­age book con­sump­tion (one per month) will need fur­ther test­ing, mar­ket by mar­ket, to see if it real­ly is uni­ver­sal.  He and his team are already doing this research now, using an algo­rithm designed for that very purpose.

Legimi’s efforts haven’t gone unno­ticed – major pub­lish­ers like Buch­mann, Insig­nis, Muza and W.A.B. are already offer­ing a raft of pop­u­lar domes­tic and inter­na­tion­al titles. And, because publishing’s rights infra­struc­ture is fair­ly uni­form inter­na­tion­al­ly, the start­up may well avoid years of intri­cate nego­ti­a­tions with publishers.

Spo­ti­fy (or Deez­er) for eBooks could well be born in 2013.

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