No one will copy and try to sell a product if anyone anywhere can instantly get the same service plus continuous updates for 33 cents a day. When any one copy of a book has a marginal price of $1, pirates are irrelevant and publishers will not need to copy protect their books. There are only so many books a human being can read in a lifetime, so there is no need to worry that every subscriber will demand many titles; once the initial flurry of excitement dies down, demand should average less than ten titles per subscriber per month. There will be far greater demand for ferreting, mapmaking, and filtering.
Later on publishers should tailor their books to specific groups of subscribers, based on information supplied by subscribers about their tastes and interests. Even later, publishers should tailor down to individual subscribers. Such publishers will then be immune from pirates producing uniform copies of one version of each book. Few would buy off the shelf clothes if tailor-made clothes were as cheap and as available.
Further, the new publishers should not sell their subscription list; their greatest danger will come from electronic publishers with competing titles. Selling them the subscription list is begging for them to compete; they should be made to pay to develop their list in the same way that the first of the new publishers did. Since they come in later they are already at a disadvantage and it should be straightforward for the early publishers to keep their edge.
On the other hand, this goes against the desirability of letting subscribers know who other subscribers are; which in turn curtails interaction among subgroups interested in particular topics. Publishers may not see this as a business advantage, but one of the biggest sellers of books is word of mouth. The benefits of identifying special interest groups and fostering a community may outweigh the liabilities of letting other publishers get their subscription list. These are some of the questions that the subdivision has to answer in the first or second phase of the venture.
The subscription scheme works especially well for two diametrically opposite types of publishers: publishers of static information (out of print or public domain books, annals, histories, and so on) and publishers of volatile information (magazines, journals, encyclopedias, fact books, almanacs, and so on). It will work particularly well for publishers like Dover who already have an effectively infinite list, since all their books are in the public domain. But it may work as well for all other publishers--including newspaper publishers.