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Startup Offers Pay-Per-Page E-Books 81

Posted by timothy
from the neal-stephenson-costs-more-than-cocaine dept.
judgecorp writes "TotalBoox, a startup from Tel Aviv, plans to sell pay-as-you-read eBooks, charging for each page read. 'We are trying to rid the world from outdated, expensive ritual of buying a book before you read it,' says founder ~Yoarv Lorch, saying that readers can save money and move on if they start a best-seller on the spur of the moment and it turns out to be a turkey. But what about slow-burning classics that you have to 'get into'? What about reference books? And all the bits of a reference book that you don't actually need? The company has a beta app on Google Play for Android tablets."
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Startup Offers Pay-Per-Page E-Books

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  • capable of commanding a higher price than the opening pages?
  • Publish hundreds of books 10 pages long
    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:54AM (#42784797)

      Hardly new. Take a look on Amazon sometime - there's tons of "ebooks" that are hardly more than pamphlets going for a buck or two apiece.

    • Publish hundreds of books 10 pages long

      Why not? As long as you are upfront with your customers. Kickstarter style, write the first chapter of a dozen books, then finish the ones that people actually read to the end.

      Yes, that will work best for the immediate action thrillers. The slow burners can still use the old business model of writing whole books that you may or may not get paid for.

      • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:31AM (#42785083) Journal
        This is pretty much the current model anyway. Authors rarely write an entire book unless they've been commissioned to do so and paid an advance, instead the normal model is to provide a publisher with a synopsis and a sample chapter or two. Self-published authors tend to write whole books up-front, but that's usually because it's a labour of love rather than a way of making a living - there's an awful lot of (generally awful) books out there written without the benefit of an editor or proof-reader and it shows.
  • What next? TotalBoox hold the final chapters of thrillers to ransom...it'll end really badly

  • Sign me up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:56AM (#42784807)

    I would be all over this. I have tons of reference ebooks that I only use a few chapters out of. If it's $40 for a 600 page book, I would gladly pay $10 for the 100 pages I would actually use even though the unit price (per page) would be higher. As it stands now, there are a lot of books I shy away from buying because a good chunk of it is irrelevant to me and the total purchase price is above my budget.

    • Re:Sign me up (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:01AM (#42784855)

      I also see this being popular with students. Buy a chapter as it comes up in class... less upfront cost and I've never had a course that used every chapter of a textbook - even the one time a professor special-ordered an abridged version of his text of choice with only certain chapters.

      • Re:Sign me up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by cbope (130292) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:15AM (#42784951)

        It won't take long before the books are structured in such a way as to make this impractical. Constant references to other parts of the book for example...

        Sorry, but this is NOT a good idea, it will only be abused by the book sellers.

        • When I was working for an academic chain bookseller we frequently supplied custom textbooks which were a collection of chapters from four or five main texts - saves the students a fortune because they only have to buy the one, and it's good for the bookshops because the books are only available locally, everyone wins.
    • I would gladly pay $10 for the 100 pages I would actually use ...

      How do you know which hundred of the 600 pages you will actually need without buying the entire book to begin with?

      • The same way I skip over all the pages I don't use now. I refer to the table of contents. Sure, I might still end up with some useless pages, but the signal to crap ratio will be much more favorable.

    • by jbengt (874751)

      I have tons of reference ebooks that I only use a few chapters out of. If it's $40 for a 600 page book, I would gladly pay $10 for the 100 pages I would actually use . . .

      I would like to know where you find those $40, 600 page reference books. Most of the reference books I use are more like $120 for 60 pages.

    • by Sigg3.net (886486)

      + 1 for students!

      I have 8 books remaining on this semester's to-order list, and only 2 of them require more than 1 chapter in the curriculum. (16 books total this semester but I'm out of cash.)

      PDF would be even better.

  • ILL (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hardie (716254) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:00AM (#42784847)

    Haven't these people heard of inter library loan?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Stephen King did "something" like that a while ago with the story "The Plant" where people would voluntarily pay for chapters. If 75% paid he would continue the story. Unfortunately he cut it short since the voluntary pay method didn't work very well. It will be interesting if this gets off the ground.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Do 75% of the readers of his paper copy books pay?

      How many are borrowing from a friend or a library or the book was bought for a whole family meaning only one copy was bought for 2-4 or more readers?

      I think he set that mark too high.

  • by Lispy (136512) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:06AM (#42784891) Homepage

    ....that just try to keep you turning pages just like soap operas. All the drama will be lost by an effectdriven style that resembles "keep tuned for the next page where he will get the girl....no really just read on a weee bit more."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      - But, how can we stretch it further?

      He landed in his chair and poured a glass of whisky.

      - Sir?

      - Yes, William?

      - May I make a suggestion?

      - Go ahead, William.

      - You know about Dumas?

      - Dumas?

      - Classic French writer.

      - Yes, yes, Three Musketeers and all that. What about him?..

      He was visibly starting to lose his temper.

      - They say he was paid by the line.

      - Yes?

      - And he had a simple trick to make his works stretch out...

      - Oh, for God's sake!..

      He leapt from his chair, spilling his whisky, and barely stopped himself f

    • You might be onto something here. I guess you could call it novel serialization. Imagine if this had occured back during the Victorian era. It might have killed literature dead in its tracks. Glad that never happened.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think it happened much earlier, in the Middle Eastern Regions, where the stories would lead to other stories, not quite ending, dragging out the whole thing night after night after night.

        Ironically, it was done so the storyteller wouldn't be dead in her tracks. [wikipedia.org]

      • by Rogerborg (306625)
        What the Dickens are you on about?
      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        You might be onto something here. I guess you could call it novel serialization. Imagine if this had occured back during the Victorian era. It might have killed literature dead in its tracks. Glad that never happened.

        But at least novel serialization took place at the chapter or several chapter levels, which at least leaves a fair bit of media to go into details and other stuff.

        Writing, as a medium, is a different way of expressing an idea. You could also do it with music, a movie/film, a play, video game or

  • by jjsimp (2245386)

    ....what about slow-burning classics that you have to 'get into'?

    Why would you pay for the classics? Go to Project Guttenberg and download at will for free.

    • Translations that aren't in 19th century English trying to sound like Attic Greek?

      Nice introductions and footnotes benefiting from recent scholarship?

      I could go on, but most of the other nice things about newer-than-1923 editions of classics are only found in (or are only good in) print books, for now. Project Gutenberg is noble and all, but it's fairly awful as a source of top-notch copies of the classics. Until one of the GitHub-alike projects to build on it takes off (if ever) it'll likely stay that wa

    • by Sigg3.net (886486)

      Classics are written today as well, you dolt.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    or just go to ebookoid.com and download millions of books for free from Russian pirates

  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:14AM (#42784947) Homepage
    Clearly the best way to consume choose your own adventure books. I mean nobody really picks every choice, right?
  • by rknop (240417) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:25AM (#42785045) Homepage

    Holy cow... like most people, I already don't like micropayments in most circumstances-- it leads to stress because you're watching what you do at all times knowing that every little thing leads to more money being charged, rather than the comfort of knowing that you've got what you got. This, however, is the concept metastasized.

    This is the kind of headline I'd expect to read on April 1.

    • Oh, you can get a lot more extreme than this. How about by the letter? The book just scrolls across your screen word by word, letter by letter with a little meter racking up until you hit STOP. The best publishers will give you the punctuation for free.

    • like most people, I already don't like micropayments

      Is this why the local newspapers that implement $20/mo paywalls are doing so well?

  • has fail written all over it. Just the opposition from publishing alone will kill this dead. @ 10cents a page, you'll have to mortgage your house to read Proust.
  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:52AM (#42785269)
    Next scheme coming up will be to add eyetrackers and scan which words you are reading which will allow (sarcasm begin) two great new additions:
    1 -- why, you only pay for the words you read! Boring paragraphs like Jules Verne's 20k Leagues of their Own Under the Sea 5-page long paragraphs describing every color of every fish seen can be skipped and you'll save money!!!
    2 -- need to re-read a sentence to grok its meaning? We'll charge you for the opportunity!
    (/sarcasm)
    Seriously, why do people fall for these crazy crazy ideas? Lke submitting your schoolwork to turnitin and giving them a life-time or perpetual license on your work... as in that other article earlier.... cray-crazy!
  • One the advantage of the micropayment system being touted here is that if you don't like a book, your upfront payment is lower.

    But on Amazon and others, for many books you can get a preview format, ie the first couple of chapters of the book, for free. If you like it, then purchase the book.

    Also, this type of payment system would only work for books which are essentially linear or self contained in small sections.

  • At least not for fiction. Non fiction, textbook, and reference books would be suited for this. But no author is going to want to give someone an escape clause in case their book doesn't end the way the reader wants. There will be entire forums and websites dedicated to listing spoilers for the books, so that people can decide based on the final outcome whether they want to bother paying for the rest of a book or not.
  • One of the main problems with "be on the internet" DRM scemes is that the internet, the users' devices and the hosts' servers can never all at once be depended upon. And what could be more frustrating than starting a book to find you can't get the next page for some reason?

  • If it fails (probably will : making people pay for data can't compete with free data + premium manufactured matter) it will just be one more data point to inscribe on the spectrum of possible businesses sorted by level of success or failure.

  • - super-wow graphic on front page to suck you in
    - 6 page thank you note by author
    - 11 page table of contents, double spaced
    - 17 page prologue describing the conception of the e-book
    - overly normalized content, stuffed with references to other chapters
    - no index, forcing you to flip through all the pages

    I don't know about you, but I don't like the sound of these e-books.
  • I have a great way to game the system.

    (please pay €1 to read next comment)

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