Scholastic’s release of its year-end results and accompanying conference call shed more light on its plans for Storia, its digital reading platform. The new streaming service will not support e-books bought through the original Storia app, and Scholastic will stop selling e-books through native Storia apps.
Originally launched in 2012 as an app designed for individual operating systems, the company said that the soon-to-be released Storia School Edition will be a streaming service, available through a subscription model for children in for pre-k through Grade 6. Subscriptions will start at $2,000 and will be based on the size of the school.
The move to a streaming service, Scholastic said, will be a more efficient way for the company to deliver e-books to its customers and it will also "lower maintenance costs, making it easier and less costly to convert our titles to school, while improving flexibility and choice for readers." Scholastic added that it will also be able to retain "the content and look of the original app.” Like the original Storia, the student edition will have about 2,000 titles.
In the fourth quarter, Scholastic took an $18 million charge to account for the switch in Storia’s delivery system, a charge that Scholastic chairman Dick Robinson said was largely “an acceleration of the normal depreciation pattern for our initial investments in Storia software across multiple operating platforms.” In responding to a question from an analyst, Robinson said that most of the investments related to the streaming model were made in the recently-concluded fiscal year.
The family edition of Storia—one sold primarily through Scholastic’s book clubs and book fairs--will be released later in 2015.
Scholastic is offering refunds to anyone who bought a Storia e-book through Aug. 1, 2015.