There are thousands of online retailers that sell e-books and only a small handful that have adopted the unlimited subscription model. When it comes to rentals, the only digital editions that are currently available are textbooks. A small German startup called Readfy is hoping that customers are willing to rent an e-book for 0.99 euros and 4.99 euros, saving between 30% and 70%.
Renting an e-book makes sense on a number of levels because there is no true ownership if you purchase it, you are merely licensing it for an extended period of time. When you rent an e-book from Readfy you have 30 days to read it and then it disappears from your library.
Major publishers are apprehensive about this new model and only self-published authors and small presses have embraced it. There are currently only 50,000 titles available for rent and the e-reading app is installed on 100,000 smartphones and tablets, according to the press release.
It remains to be seen if a new rental model will be financially viable and whether users will embrace it, therefore giving Readfy leverage to try and convince medium sized publishers to buy into it.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.