Innovation That Matters

Service charges e-book readers by the page

Publishing & Media

Israel-based startup Total BooX allows users to try a book without paying the full price up front.

Pay-as-you-go models have proved popular for telecoms and utility firms, ensuring that consumers only pay for what they use. Now that books have gone digital, could charging readers for how much they read – rather than an upfront cost for the whole book – work for the publishing industry? Israel-based startup Total BooX believes it can. Readers signing up for the service first connect credit card or PayPal details to their account and top up their balance. They can then browse the thousands of titles available through the Total BooX app and are charged for the percentage of each book they access as they read. For example, reading ten percent of a book will deduct ten percent of the cost of the full book from a user’s account; finishing the title will cost the same as having paid for the book upfront. Any accessed pages are available to read again at any time at no further cost. The service encourages readers to be more adventurous with their choices as there is no initial investment, and also offers publishing houses and authors data on how people read their work. There have been a number of recent innovations to encourage readers to complete a piece of literature, from VertraginsApp, offering stories that can be read in their entirety during a train ride, to El Libro que No Puede Esperar, the Argentinian anthology printed in ink visible only for two months. While Total BooX could be criticized for enabling readers to give up on books without penalty, could its model be applied to other areas of entertainment? Spotted by: Lily Dixon



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