Bookmate, the subscription ebook service and social e-reading platform, is now available in Singapore.
Partnering with StarHub, a Singapore-based digital communications provider, Bookmate brings its more than 500,000-ebook catalog to the country’s growing market of e-readers, in what Bookmate founder Simon Dunlop in a statement today calls “a significant first step in increasing Bookmate’s footprint in Southeast Asia.”
In an interview earlier this year, Dunlop voiced qualified agreement with skeptics of the subscription model for ebooks, saying it “does not seem viable” on its own. When combined with robust social features, though, he said be believes the approach brings sufficient value to readers to make it a scalable business.
Some of Bookmate’s recent advancements this year appear to validate Dunlop’s confidence, with HarperCollins adding its titles to Bookmate’s catalog in October, shortly after the subscription service rolled out two new mobile apps.
Bookmate’s expansion into Asia comes at a time when the subscription ebook market is evolving. In the last few months of the year, some of the best-known providers like Oyster and Scribd moved boldly to expand their product offerings beyond just the subscription-based ebook model Dunlop expressed concern about as a standalone proposition.
Oyster has added curated recommendation features, launched an online literary magazine and brought in top authors as business consultants. Scribd recently rolled out a digital audiobook streaming platform to compete in that increasingly crowded space, which remains dominated by Amazon’s Audible.