Here’s a novel idea that might appeal to anyone who’s ever bought an ebook and given up halfway through. Israeli site Total Boox is offering a service (currently in beta) whereby readers pre-pay a deposit and then are billed for books based on the number of pages they read (via). If they finish the book, they pay the full price, whereas if they only get halfway through… Well, you get the idea.
For authors, this offers a number of advantages. For one thing, gone will be the days when you suspect that someone downloaded your ebook from Amazon, read it quickly, and then returned it for a full refund. Also, this type of information (assuming Total Boox shares data with authors) could be useful for helping pinpoint parts of a novel at which people tend to start losing patience. You could end up micro-managing your plot thanks to a kind of crowd-sourced critiquing system!
Judging by the Information for Authors page, it looks like Total Boox aren’t quite ready for authors to submit their books just yet. Meanwhile, the beta app is available via Google Play for early adopters. It’ll be interesting to see whether readers warm to the idea of being charged on a per page basis, or whether the majority prefer to just pay a flat price and take their chances.