How does Ream compare to other subscription platforms?

Ream vs Patreon vs Substack vs Kofi: Fall 2023 Comparison


Last Update 4 months ago

For a more detailed comparison check out the chart below:

Who is it for?The subscription platform by fiction authors for fiction authors.Subscriptions for all creative people and businesses. Not tailored to authors.Fan donation platform for all creative people. Not tailored to authors.
Is there an eReader?Authors can publish books on Ream where readers can experience them in a social eReader. They can leave comments on each paragraph and authors can respond to them all in a unified dashboard.No eReader. Each chapter is a separate post making for a clunky and confusing experience for readers.No eReader. Each chapter or story is an individual post. Entire books cana also be uploaded to be sideloaded to a reader’s device.
What controls do readers have?Readers can adjust the font size, read in sepia and dark mode, and adjust font type.No advanced reader controls.No advanced reader controls.
How do I publish my content as an author?We have an easy-to-use manuscript importer that chops up your book by each chapter in it. Then you can schedule dozens of chapters to be published to specific tiers at specific times, all in just a few clicks.Authors have to upload and schedule each chapter to each tier. This can take hours to do when uploading many chapters and is extremely time-consuming.Authors have to upload and schedule each chapter to each tier. This can take hours to do when uploading many chapters and is extremely time-consuming.
What about building my community on the platform?Ream can host both your free and paid community, enabling you to have a separate place to make updates and posts to your readers and for your readers to make posts too.There are no robust community tools. Readers can’t make posts and can only comment on an author’s posts with chapters, life updates, and other content messily organized in one feed.There are no robust community tools. Readers can’t make posts and can only comment on an author’s posts with chapters, life updates, and other content messily organized in one feed.
What about up-selling existing subscribers?Ream makes this easy with the ability to publish chapters to the public for free. Then, when readers hit a paid chapter, they are asked to subscribe. Likewise, if a reader is a paid subscriber, but not at a high enough tier to read a specific chapter, they will also be asked to upgrade.You can make posts available to the public, but the lack of an eReader makes it a bad funnel for having free subscribers upgrade to paid.You can make posts free or paid, however, there is no eReader or ability for readers to comment on every paragraph in your story.
Can I post adult-themed or steamy stories here?Yes, we are proud to support our steamy and dark romance authors. Emilia Rose, a steamy romance author who makes six-figures per year in subscriptions is a co-founder of Ream. We make a promise to never censor our romance authors and have content and community guidelines in place to ensure we comply with payment processing and requisite laws while protecting our community from hate and harassment. We also include reader and author protections to ensure readers are of the appropriate age to read mature content.Open to some adult content, but has a history of censoring steamy romance authors.Adult content is strictly prohibited.
Are audiobooks supported on Ream?This feature is coming soon. Like every feature we build, we create everything by and for authors. That means more of the tools you need to be successful as an author and faster.You can post an RSS feed to Patreon but there is limited security over link sharing. You can also upload audio files directly to Patreon, but this is more designed to listen to one-off podcast episodes rather than serialized audio or full stories.No native audio. You can link to an unlisted YouTube video or a Soundcloud file (both 3rd party platforms).
Are there other ways to make money on these platforms?Not at the moment. We are laser-focused on creating the best subscription experience for you and your readers.No. Patreon only allows monetization through subscriptions.Yes. Ko-fi allows fan donations and one-off sales of content.
What data do I have on my subscribers?Emails, names, direct access to all your charges if using Direct to Reader, and subscription history.Emails, names, and their subscription tier history.Emails, names, subscription history, and direct access to all your charges.
Can I find new readers on this platform?On Ream, we have free tiers that enable someone to join your mailing list and get free benefits such as being a part of your story and getting access to certain story chapters. This helps nurture fans into paying subscribers over time. [COMING EARLY SUMMER 2023]No. Patreon has limited discoverability features and limited ability to build a community of your followers.No. Kofi has limited discoverability for authors and when someone follows you, they don’t join your mailing list.
What is support like?Support team is made up of real fiction authors and the founders run the Subscriptions for Authors Facebook Group and Podcast. We have tons of free education and resources designed specifically for fiction authors to be successful. Replies usually on same business day.At the moment, the expected response time from support can be as high as 1 week for login, content guidelines, and payment issues (source: Patreon Blog). Support is usually on the same business day for other queries.Replies usually within same business day for general queries. Not a specialized team for authors and readers.
How much does it cost to use each platform?10% flat fee + payment processing. Authors that have switched from Patreon have reported getting more profit with Ream, due to increased reader retention and lower payment fees for authors who choose our Direct to Reader integration.5%, 8%, or 12% fees + payment processing (almost all authors are on the 8% plan)5% + payment processing or $6 per month + payment processing for Ko-fi Gold
How am I paid on these platforms?On Ream you have two options — our Ream Pay integration or Direct to Reader integration. With Ream Pay, authors in 130+ countries are eligible for payouts on daily, weekly, or monthly schedule. With Direct to Reader, you own your Stripe account and directly charge your readers. This gives you faster payouts and full portability of payments on Ream. All of our authors have full control over refunds.Your readers pay Patreon directly, and then Patreon pays you out on their behalf. There is no way to migrate your subscribers from Patreon.Your readers directly pay your payout account through Stripe or PayPal (which has significantly higher fees).
Does the platform handle Sales Tax, VAT, and other Fees?With Ream Pay, we collect, file, and remit sales tax and VAT for our authors. These fees are charged on top of the tier/subscription list price and are not subtracted from author income. In addition, Ream also has a Direct to Reader integration, that allows authors to own their payout account and have portability of payments. No other platform gives authors this flexibility of choice and power for payment options. For a full description of Ream Pay and Direct to Reader check out our guide here.Patreon handles sales tax, VAT, and other fees for creators. However, Patreon has no Direct to Fan option, limiting the freedom and control that creators have on their site.Ko-fi does not handle sales tax, VAT, or other fees and creators will have to file and remit these fees themselves on the platform.
Does the platform help me be successful with subscriptions as an author?We give all our authors access to a free book called the Subscriptions for Authors Starter Guide when they join the platform. In fact, you can download it right here: In addition, we host a weekly podcast, monthly fireside chats, and have created the best resources to help subscription authors succeed on the internet.PatreonU contains dozens of help guides and videos on growing your membership, however the information is not specific to helping fiction authors on their platform.The Ko-fi Academy features some interviews with successful authors but their guides are broadly focused on all creators and not niched down to the specific insights or expert advice authors need to succeed.
Does the platform support pen names?Yes! Ream has a multi-page feature where in just the click of a button you can set up a new pen name and manage it all from one account :).No. In order to manage multiple pages, you must create seperate accounts.No. In order to manage multiple pages, you must create seperate accounts.
Final Verdict?Ream is the platform by fiction authors for fiction authors and has an easier set-up and better experience for your readers.Patreon can be beneficial for authors looking for an established brand name. However, it lacks many of the features authors and readers find essential for success in subscriptions.For nonfiction authors and creators with services and commissions for sale, their alternative monetization features can be useful.

Disclaimer: This chart was created by the Ream Team. We encourage you to find the subscription solution that best suits your needs.

If you have any further questions, please contact [email protected].

If you’d like to sign up for Ream and become an author on the platform, visit:

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