Subscription software, books, and comics

I found out this week that Day One is switching over to a paid subscription model, much like other Mac software has done over the last few years. (TextExpander and 1Password come to mind.)

Day One has said that they’ll continue to support users who have previously purchased the software, and not require that anyone switch over to a subscription, so that’s cool. (1Password did much the same thing. So did TextExpander, though they kind of stumbled into it after some backlash.)

I gave up on TextExpander, for various reasons, not long after they introduced subscriptions. I’m still using the non-subscription 1Password, and I’m pretty happy with it, though I’m thinking about switching over to a subscription. As to Day One, I guess I’ll keep using it for now. I definitely don’t get enough use out of it to justify a subscription. At some point, I may give up on it and just add a “journal” notebook to my Evernote account. I’m already paying for Evernote Premium, so that’s probably a good idea.

Meanwhile, it seems like subscription-based software and services are really getting pushed by a variety of companies. I got an email from O’Reilly today, saying that they’ll no longer be selling books directly, and pushing their Safari subscription instead. It’s still possible to buy their books from Amazon, so that’s good, but their own site was a pretty good place to buy ebooks, since they offered DRM-free ebooks in multiple formats (PDF, Mobi, and ePub). Oh well. It’s not clear from their FAQ if the ebooks you’d get from Amazon are DRM-free or not. Kindle books usually aren’t, but they can be. And I guess there’s no way to buy a DRM-free PDF of an O’Reilly book now. PDF is really the best format to have, if you’re using a book for reference.

Packt still sells DRM-free ebooks, but they also push their Mapt subscription service. The same goes for Apress: they still sell directly, but also push Apress Access, their subscription service.

On a semi-related subject, I think I may have accidentally signed up for a trial of Comixology Unlimited. I was trying to use the Comixology iOS app this weekend, and it was acting a bit funny. At some point, I briefly saw a screen saying that I’d activated a 7-day trial. I hadn’t purposely clicked on anything that should have done that, and I think the app crashed right afterwards. My account page says I don’t have a subscription, but I’ve noticed that eligible titles now have a “borrow” button underneath them, instead of an “add to cart” button. So, who knows? I have enough unread purchased comics in my Comixology account that I can’t really see myself ever needing Comixology Unlimited. I’ll just have to keep an eye on my account and make sure that, if I do actually have a trial, it doesn’t convert to paid.

Speaking of borrowing comics, I’m currently reading a well-worn copy of The Return of Bruce Wayne, borrowed from my local library. They have a pretty nice selection of graphic novels. And the Bridgewater Library (not far from here, and in the same library system) has an even better selection. So I could probably give up on buying comics altogether and just rely on the Somerset County Library System, if I wanted to.

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