This spring, a new and a little strange service will emerge in London.
Rook is a kind of digital library service. Registering Rook, you can read e-books as many as you like for free, but in limited places. If you would like to possess the e-book when leaving the Rook spot, you can buy it.
Galley Cat: Rook App Lets Readers Sample eBooks
The Guardian: Will new app Rook be a useful pawn in the publishing game?
From long ago, there is a dilemma regarding selling a book. You cannot decide whether the book is worthy to buy until you read it. But, after you read it, you need not buy it.
Overcoming this substantial problem, several solutions have been attempted. Many bookstores allow you to skim the books without buying. Critiques write a review for new books to offer you some suggestion. The publishers advertise the book with several methods. You can read the first several pages of the book for free via Amazon KINDLE.
Comparing to the above ideas, the approach of Rook resembles the most orthodox one, real bookstores. Rook spots are to become a bookstore or a library. You can complete the reading there, or get it with payment to continue reading in your house.
So, will Rook be successful? I think there are some factors relevant to shape the future.
First, the lineup is crucial. Some publishers have been reluctant to participate in the e-book industry so far. They can be afraid that many readers would complete reading at the Rook spot instead of buying it. The Poor reading list never attracts the readers’ attention. Seeking providers as many as possible in the early stage is important for Rook to be successful.
My past entry: Immature Kindle Unlimited
Second, I guess that E-books stimulate our desire for possessions much less than hardcover books. It is disadvantageous in the sales strategy. You dare not to buy an e-book for reading again in the future. Instead, come to the Rook spot.
Third, there is a dilemma of Rook spots. If there are few spots, few people will register. On the other hand, if too many spots available, buying the e-book itself will no longer necessary.
Considering these controversies, I think that it is difficult for publishers to make a large profit in this scheme. Administration of Rook seems quite delicate.
On the other hand, there is another possibility of the utilization of Rook. Rook can also lend this e-library. For example, you can open the Rook spot in your cafe for one day. Rook spots have a role to gather passengers. The place many passengers drop in makes some value.
The market of paper books is shrinking. I will keep an eye on the great experiment conducted by Rook, as a Londoner.
My past entry: Monthly subscription model in journals and books