Cate Lawrence is an Australian tech journo living in Berlin. She focuses on all things mobility: ebikes, autonomous vehicles, VTOL, smart ci Cate Lawrence is an Australian tech journo living in Berlin. She focuses on all things mobility: ebikes, autonomous vehicles, VTOL, smart cities, and the future of alternative energy sources like electric batteries, solar, and hydrogen.
Ahh, the pain of digital content. You want to buy one audiobook, or listen to a single premium podcast, but a damn paywall means you have to pay for a subscription to a whole platform. Sure, it might open you to new content, but more likely results in a subscription you never use. Or, even worse, accidentally auto-renew.
But a Swedish startup is here to take away your pain: Sesamy.
It’s the brainchild of the people behind Acast, the world’s largest podcasting platform. Simply put, Sesamy enables you to purchase single audiobooks, ebooks, and podcasts without needing a subscription.
So far, the Stockholm-based company has partnered with every major book publisher in Sweden and Denmark to offer users the option to purchase digital content as a single purchase. You can then consume it on any app or device.
This means you can play Sesamy audiobooks in your favourite audio app and download watermarked ebooks to any ereader. And you actually own the book instead of renting it with a platform like Amazon Kindle.
A solution to a problem plaguing the publishing industry
Publishing companies are struggling to woo readers who look to cut costs, and Sesamy offers them a new business model and potential revenue source. In October, the company launched SmartID with Swedish publication Breakit, enabling publishers to monetize non-subscribed readers, without cannibalising their existing revenues from digital subscriptions.
The software will also include built-in price optimisation that suggests a fair retail cost to readers and publishers, ensuring that the platform remains competitive. And this incremental revenue may add up at a time when people are culling their subscriptions to save money.
Let’s be clear. Sesamy is not offering free books. But anyone looking for an alternative to the recently shuttered shadow book and article repository Z-library may find this a lot more accessible than shelling out tons for costly subscriptions.
What’s next? The company announced a €3.3 million funding round this week, and will use the capital to make single issues of newspapers and magazines more accessible. Anyone who has had to sign up for a full month to read a solo article will be jumping up with joy right now.
In the future, I’d love to see Sesamy’s business model extend into academic content, which is almost always behind a paywall. Ideally, it should be freely accessible for all, but that’s not the world we’re living in, especially with publishing houses struggling in this current environment.
Something like Sesamy not only provides a new business model for digital publishing, it also does so by delivering a service that users actually want. That’s the sort of win-win which has the potential to shake up the entire digital content industry.
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