Citing the ongoing decline of e-book sales alongside the growth of its Safari digital subscription channel, technology publisher O’Reilly Media is discontinuing the fulfillment of direct sales of print, e-books and videos via its shop.reilly.com retail site. Instead the site will offer the consumer access to the e-book via its Safari subscription service.
In a notice sent to the clients of O’Reilly Digital Distribution this week, the company said that when customers visit shop.reilly.com to buy an individual e-book, they will get a link to a membership offer for Safari (or a link to Amazon for direct purchase) when they click on the book’s buy button.
Safari is an O’Reilly company that offers subscription access to an online library of more than 40,000 e-books, videos and other STM content.
In a note to clients, O’Reilly Media president Laura Baldwin explained the reason for the change. She wrote that “It’s clear that we’re in the midst of a fundamental shift in how people get and use content. Subscription services like Spotify and Netflix are the new norm, as people opt for paying for digital access rather than purchasing physical units one by one.”
In citing the growing consumer demand for “access” to the content they want, rather than ownership, Baldwin explained that, “we’ve already seen this in our own business. The growth of subscribers on Safari far exceeds the individual units previously purchased,” via shop.reilly.
Founded in 2001, Safari Books Online was an early example of offering subscription e-book access to individuals and companies for a monthly or yearly subscription fee. The service offers a sliding scale of fees for access to individual titles, videos, learning tutorials or even prepublication access to forthcoming titles. Safari has been reported to have more than one million active users.
Baldwin emphasized that O'Reilly will continue to publish and distribute individual e-books and other content and that the changes to the Shop.reilly outlet will not effect the overall business of O’Reilly Digital Distribution, which distributes digital content for more than 250 publishers. The service will continue to supply content to digital retailers such as Amazon, Google Play, the iBooks Store and other outlets.
Sara Winge, v-p of O’Reilly’s Radar Group, told PW that the company believes Safari is “uniquely positioned to give our customers the choice and convenience they expect.”
“We believe that publishing has a very bright future. And by focusing our efforts and resources behind Safari, rather than maintaining our legacy ecommerce model, we’ll get to that future faster,” she said.