Skip to main content

One Stat That Should Worry Subscription Content Creators

Heidi Thorne is a self-publishing advocate and author of nonfiction books, eBooks, and audiobooks. She is a former trade newspaper editor.


Our Retirement Reset on Subscriptions

My husband retired this past spring. Even though we’ve planned and saved for his retirement, he still had a lot of concern over spending in this new life chapter.

As he went through a list of his own personal spending, he cut multiple subscriptions. Some were for industry-specific memberships that are no longer needed. But relevant to our discussion here, he dropped three content subscriptions: Kindle Unlimited, Audible, and Wondrium. Wondrium is an education resource that encompasses The Great Courses. I also looked at our streaming services and dropped some subscriptions there, too.

Appears we’re not alone. According to Statista, a July 2022 survey found that in response to rising inflation, 66 percent of participating consumers said they plan to cut back on subscriptions and contracts. It was the highest category for cost cutting, seconded only by clothing at 42 percent.

This should concern every single content creator, author, and publisher.

I’m Spending How Much on Subscriptions?

According to a U.S. News report, in 2021, consumers spent an average of $273 per month on subscriptions. That translates into $3,276 per year, and three times what consumers thought they were spending.

Scroll to Continue

Once consumers realize their money is dripping away month after month, they may have an epiphany moment and start scrutinizing those subscriptions. We only need to observe the presence of services, which ironically are subscriptions, to help people sort out and say goodbye to subscriptions they don’t need.

How Does This Impact Authors and Content Creators?

If your content is offered to consumers through the likes of subscription services such as Kindle Unlimited, Audible, or YouTube subscriptions, you may see some decrease and fluctuation in revenues.

It might also mean that you’ll see some spurts and sputters of consumption due to free trials. According to reporting on Finance Buzz, 53.65% of consumers signed up for a free trial with the intent of canceling by the time the trial ends. I’ve done it. I’m sure you have, too.

If you offer subscriptions direct to consumers through the likes of Patreon or Substack, you might experience some nice sign up volume at launch when excitement is high and your fans want to show support. Then you might see some cancellations soon after. If inflation continues to plague the economy for the near term, you might also have difficulty even getting people to sign up.

What Should Authors and Content Creators Do?

As with all wise investing, it’s best to have a mix of revenue sources that doesn’t rely solely on subscriptions. Even though they also experience peak and valley sales cycles, sales of self published books can complement any subscription business model.

Unfortunately, both subscriptions and book sale income are challenging from a marketing standpoint. There are too many content sources which have exponentially increased competition. Continually building and maintaining your author platform and fan base is the only way to making income from self publishing. There is no such thing as set it and forget it income.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Heidi Thorne

Related Articles