Industry Notes: US Beta for ‘Wattpad Next’; Cengage Subscription for Missouri

In News by Porter Anderson

A ‘fast follow’ is planned for Spanish-language regions as Wattpad Next payments are beta-tested in the US market. And Cengage adds another university to its subscription.

Image – iStockphoto: ViewApart

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Wattpad’s ‘Next’ Beta Now Includes the USA
Wattpad Next, the new writer-payment system that the Toronto-based content platform has been beta-testing in the Philippines as well as in the Canadian, UK, and Mexican markets, is now in beta in the the United States.

The Wattpad Next program, which Publishing Perspectives reported first here, allows writers to make money on Wattpad through a direct reader-payment system.

Wattpad Next beta stories are available in the States now for purchase, using the company’s new virtual currency, called coins. US Wattpad users can now purchase participating Wattpad Next beta stories by chapter or, for finished works, as a complete story.

A range of coin packs are available, from 99 cents to $7.99.

The original beta was announced in October, and has been successful enough that the company now is making it available in its enormous US market of more than 13 million monthly users. Worldwide, the platform now is reporting a monthly active user base of more than 70 million people.

Allen Lau

In a prepared statement, Wattpad’s co-founding CEO Allen Lau is quoted, saying, “Wattpad users around the world have overwhelmingly embraced the chance to support their favorite writers through the Wattpad Next beta program.

“This program is part of our commitment to helping writers earn money from their stories, monetizing stories both on and off Wattpad. Along with opportunities to connect with brands and work with Wattpad Studios to turn their stories into books, TV shows, films, and digital projects, writers can now make money directly from the fans who have supported them since their first pages.

There are currently 50 exclusive stories available in the program,  to add a new round of writers and stories in early 2019. Wattpad Next (beta) is currently an invitation-only program for writers.

“The beta phase of Wattpad Next is just the beginning, as we look at new ways to help support Wattpad writers around the world.”

As we reported in January, Wattpad raised US$51 million in new funding from Tencent Holdings Limited and other international investors.

Wattpad has also made strides in entertainment this year, including co-producing Hulu’s hit show Light as a Feather with AwesomenessTV, released during the Frankfurter Buchmesse.

In fact, the company’s media messaging is referring to 2018 as a “milestone year,” with references to its expansion of the Wattpad Studios team, new partnerships with iflix, Sony, SYFY, and more.

Cengage Unlimited Adds University of Missouri

The University of Missouri System will offer Cengage Unlimited subscriptions to all students enrolled in Cengage courses beginning in January.

Media messaging indicates that approximately 40,000 Missouri students taking Cengage courses will be able to access course materials across 70 subjects and 675 courses, with subscription costs included in student course fees.

The company says that its subscription plan will save the average University of Missouri student US$75 or more each semester, depending on the number of Cengage courses a student takes. Across the university system, the agreement is expected to save students $3 million annually.

A recent announcement from Cengage also indicates that the lawsuit in Knox et al v. Cengage, brought by authors who protested the subscription structure of their Cengage content ,has been settled.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with our authors David Knox and Caroline Schacht,” the company says, in a comment not attributed to a specific speaker.

“Under the agreement, Mr. Knox and Ms. Schacht will purchase Choices in Relationships: An Introduction to Marriage and Family from Cengage.  And, Cengage retains the exclusive rights to other titles authored or co-authored by these authors, including M&F and Understanding Social Problems. These works continue to be available with a Cengage Unlimited subscription.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Wattpad is here, and on Cengage is here. And more from our our Industry Notes series is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.