UK firm reveals ebook subscription library

Afictionado to offer ebook subscriptions, but faces competition from Amazon

Nicole Kobie
14 Sep 2011

A UK start-up firm is to offer a pay-to-borrow ebook library similar to one Amazon is rumoured to be working on.

Afictionado plans to launch in January - offering a paid-for ebook library of PDF and ePub formats - but won't work with Amazon's popular Kindle reader.

London-based Afictionado uses Adobe Content Server 4 to control the lending process, meaning the DRM-protected PDFs won't work on the Kindle, a spokesperson said, noting that as Amazon is working on its own system it's not "realistically" possible that the retail giant will sign up with the smaller would-be rival.

Pricing hasn't yet been announced, but at least two tiers are planned: one offering four ebooks at a time, and another offering two. As each book is loaned for two weeks, that effectively limits the first package to eight books a month, as they can't be returned early.

On the demo site, that package was listed at £12 a month, but Afictionado said that was still subject to change - not least as publishers haven't signed up yet.

"Pricing will depend to a certain extent what they think," a spokesman admitted. "Because of the way our cost structure works... we think we'll be able to offer a cost effective system to customers but we don't think it will be too difficult for publishers."

Users will also be able to buy books via the site. At the moment, the system is web-based, but Afictionado will eventually also offer apps for Apple and Android devices.

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