To Whom It May Concern,
First, let me say that I enjoy many of your stories on your site and the ease of use your set up provides. I actually started looking at your site just as the subscription ended and purchased it without realizing your were discontinuing it.
The issue I have, which many others have brought up is the cost versus the value. The Spirit Stones are insanely expensive compared to the subscription and other avenues, including but not limited to Amazon, free copies online, and other sites. I subscribed initially by justifying it as having access to a large number of books in genres that I enjoyed. The Spirit Stones method is not worthwhile or an investment I would want to make when there are alternatives that are far cheaper.
In terms of a business model, moving over to a subscription was a long term plan to generate revenue while Spirit Stones are short term. Using contests, developing original content, and promoting your own authors would drive subscriptions over time and help you earn money over a longer period of time. Spirit Stones on the other hand force people to look elsewhere. There is a reason that Amazon, Netflix, and various other companies try to develop original content, in order to draw people to their site.
The micro-transaction of your site only works when the micro-transactions are for non-critical content. It is fine to micro-transact for addons like skins and different models, but people are inherently turned off from micro transactions from core content. I would rather pay $100 one time, than $1 a hundred times and I am sure many people feel this way as well.
My advice is to bring back the subscription model but have year long plans, invest in advertising and original content to draw people in, promote your contests more, and have more feed back with your community. I hope you take my suggestion in the spirit in which it was given. I look forward to the new premium method you plan to develop in the future.
A Frustrated Reader