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Business Model Transition

Major changes are happening within WordExcerpt as we speak! You may have noticed a pause in our chapter releases. There were also questions about the quality of our logistics and other things asked periodically. I will get to that. 

First and foremost, we are officially moving away from paid content to a freemium model! The basic premise of the freemium model is that WordExcerpt will offer the product to you with basic features at no cost with an ad-supported model. Beyond the free version lies a premium version, with more available resources, services, and advantages should you decide that a subscription is worth paying. I had this business model in mind since our inception, but due to certain restrictions on our end that I cannot disclose, the plan had been discarded and tossed aside until now. Our belief is that reading should not be a luxury. Reading should be available to everyone, wherever you are, whoever you are.

Piracy is rife in the South Korean literary market, presenting a major challenge for Korean authors in monetizing their work as we continue to see the value of authors’ intellectual property decline over time. When it does become official, the damage is done.  To better understand their perspective in the sense of piracy, I’ve had multiple conversations with Korean authors. They told me that they oftentimes receive a meager amount of revenue from official translated work because an unofficial version is out there somewhere, making it difficult for them to continue pursuing their passion due to financial status. Through an open dialogue with them, it has definitely helped better my understanding based on actual data.

And with the shift in the market, we are seeing many services emerge in the western market in an attempt to combat piracy, officialize works, and help authors earn income. My vision for WordExcerpt is to implement a freemium model to convert illegal consumers to legal readers.

How will authors be paid with the freemium model? And how will this prevent piracy?

Every chapter read on WordExcerpt counts. Unlike with piracy where authors do not receive any form of revenue, authors earn revenue from simply reading a chapter with an ad-supported model. We do encourage AdBlock to be turned off.

The core of a platform like ours heavily relies on tech. The kind of features that we are able to provide not only ensures the fans of Korean literature get access to their favorite titles, but also that authors are able to get revenue from their book sales. Our content is heavily protected, which ensures that our books will not be illegally distributed. If so, we do have a legal team set in place to combat such piracy. 

WordExcerpt has entered many partnerships in the past couple of months, including Munpia, Tappytoon, and Tapas. What is the importance of developing this partnership?

Most of these partnerships are content-based. The basic idea is just for us to be able to provide the kind of content that users require and want to read at any point in time. We have valuable partnerships (and much more currently in negotiation) with multiple local and international companies so that we are able to provide official English content that we know you love.

I’m a subscriber. What will happen to my subscription?

We intended to process current subscribers and transition them into our own model of subscription that allows for advanced reading, but since our current system is less than optimal, we will cancel our internal subscriptions so users are not billed the monthly charge. Until we feel more confident to host an internal model, we will continue to fine-tune and optimize our technology so that current errors users are facing do not occur in the future. 

As an alternative solution, we will make temporary use of Patreon until further notice. You can check it out here.

Active subscribers will be transferred to VIP roles temporarily at no cost before it expires.

What will happen to the web platform?

Nothing too drastic. The web platform will be down temporarily while we work on transitioning the business model from paid content to ad reading.

Second-most, our logistics have hit a pause. The current amount of orders we receive on a day-to-day basis cannot keep up with our current infrastructure, causing subtle changes across departments which has a visibly negative impact.  We will have to scale operations to support the infrastructure, but it requires greater funding, time and effort we do not have. While we have the ability to do so, it will no doubt hamper our efforts to push out content after content.

I reached out to my point of contact, endeavoring a bit of flattery here and there. After some fine and hearty meals with them, we elected to distribute our works to partner companies that are better able to support our vision. Our partners are experts in bookselling.

This partnership will ensue a positive impact on WordExcerpt’s current workflow, especially our support and logistic department, which I admit is our weakest link. Within the next few weeks, I expect our support department to better handle replying to inquiries and provide superb technical and logistical support.

Who are those companies?

Traditional publishers. While I can’t disclose names at the moment, we will be working with traditional publishers who have decades of history distributing published works in print, ebook, and audiobook format. 

Do I know them?

Most likely so. You probably purchased a book or two from them once in your lifetime. They’re pretty big. 

What will happen to the WordExcerpt bookstore? 

Users will no longer be able to process orders in the near future. Once we have shipped the final order, we will be closing shop to allow our publishing partners to handle distribution. 

And lastly, a notable event is that WordExcerpt is merging. I will, however, follow up with a more lengthy post. Brace for impact because this recent development will change WordExcerpt for the better from licensing, staffing, content quality, partnerships, distribution, and other points of interest. I’m hopeful for this year as we manifest our goals and vision to life, and I hope you are as well!

– Jud