Monday, October 15, 2012

If MoviePass Catches On, Are Books Next?

A new entertainment subscription service company has launched a program that will allow frequent movie theater goers to save money. Could such a plan be copied by bookstores or publishers?, for now an invite-only service, sells a monthly plan to theater attendees. In New York, the fee will range between $30 - $35. For adults in the NYC area, a movie costs around $13 per ticket. So if someone sees at least three movies in a month, they will begin to come out ahead. It is a bit like a Netflix for the big screen.

What if Barnes & Noble comes out with a plan where one can buy a certain number of new books – or maybe backlist titles – for a set monthly fee? Or maybe publishers can create such a book-of-the-month club plan directly to consumers?

Perhaps one can come up with a giant entertainment plan – some combo of books, music, and movies – but that would link too many industries and companies together. Then again, it would be a marketing powerhouse. Amazon is trying to do that now, in some ways, with its AmazonPrime program.

I do not think you should sell creative content by the pound. Ideas and creativity should be commoditized. It not only devalues the social impact of the content, it may eventually devalue the financial worth of such content.

MoviePass may work with movie theaters who make their money less on admissions fees but more so on their vending products. But for book lovers, let’s leave the bulk-purchase mentality to Costco for toilet paper sales – unless you see books and toilet paper in the same consumer category.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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