From Forbes blogs:
If you’re like most digitally connected folks, you probably have access to a video subscription service like Netflix Netflix, or maybe a music subscription service like Spotify. In that case, new services that do the same but for ebooks want you.
Oyster, Scribd and Entitle (just re-branded from eReatah) are all new ebook subscription services that are competing for your business. Lately, the battle has heated up.
Early this week, Entitle relaunched to the public with a new name and lower prices. It offers a catalog of about 100,000 ebooks and users can read, download and own two a month for $14.99, three books a month for $21.99, and four books a month for $27.99.
. . . .
When it comes to the competition between these services, it’s all about building a catalog and gathering customers. Oyster took the lead in this round when it comes to building a catalog. It’s the first service that Perseus has signed with. Through Constellation, Perseus is one of the largest ebook distributors in the world and potentially a very powerful partner.
Link to the rest at Forbes blogs
With his perversely legal mind, PG is inclined to wonder exactly where in the grant of rights in a typical publishing contract the publisher receives the right to include a book in a subscription service and, more importantly, what the royalty rate is.
The reason PG wonders about the royalty rate is that a great many publishing contracts include differing royalty rates for licenses and sales. Sales are usually included in the primary rights royalty sections and licenses are included in the subsidiary rights sections. Licensing of subsidiary rights usually pays higher royalties to the author than sales do.
PG mentions this because he has never seen an agreement whereby ebooks are sold to readers. In his experience, there’s always a license.
As an example, here’s some relevant language from the website of Entitle, one of the ebook subscription services mentioned above:
Unless otherwise specified, the Entitle service, and any ebooks obtained through our service, are for your personal and non-commercial use only and we grant you a limited, non exclusive, non transferable, license to access the Entitle service for that purpose. You may not download, copy, distribute, display, reproduce, duplicate, publish, license, create derivative works from, or offer for sale any ebooks contained on, or obtained from or through, the Entitle service, without our express written consent.
This is part of the terms of service that Entitle requires its customers to accept prior to downloading any ebooks.
This is licensing language which is part of a licensing agreement in click-to-accept form. If you’ve been on the Inernet for more than ten minutes, you’ve clicked a licensing agreement.
If you think hard about your experience purchasing a physical book from a bookstore, then opening the book to read it, you will not recall ever entering into a click-to-accept license. You buy the physical copy of the book, you don’t license it. The book is protected solely by copyright laws, not a license.
Under those copyright laws, because you own the physical book, you can sell your copy. You’re not licensed to do that with ebooks downloaded through the Entitle service.