“Netflix of books” takes on big publishers with new selling plan

By: Abbey Dufoe  |  April 10, 2015

Move over, Amazon, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Well, if Oyster had their way, that is. Oyster, the proclaimed “Netflix of books” is entering the e-book world and taking on Amazon, the largest online book retailer, and its Kindle store of e-books, reports FastCompany.

The subscription service has historically offered unlimited e-books for Kindle users (on iOS and Android) for $9.95 per month, so users could “rent” books to read but did have to return them. The library currently totals over 1 million titles. Soon, they will expand their offerings to sell (so users will “own”) newer and more in-demand books.

Oyster recently persuaded Macmillan to allow 1,000 of its backlist books into Oyster’s subscription library, making it the third of the Big Five publishers to offer titles through the e-book service. (FastCompany)

Big Five publishers include Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Hachette. However, publishers have been skeptical of subscription services, much like music producers have been skeptical of music subscription services:

But Oyster CEO Stromberg hopes that as the e-book market moves more toward agency pricing (where publishers set prices, not consumers), booksellers can reduce Amazon’s price-cutting advantage.

Oyster’s store will be modeled after other e-book providers, including the Apple iBooks store, Amazon’s Kindle store, Google Books, and Kobo’s store, reports Mashable. The new system will work on desktop, iPhone, iPad and Android platforms.

Mashable also reports that publishers have a lot to potentially gain from Oyster’s service, citing that some publishers have been butting heads with Amazon recently, and the new service will give them more options to produce and sell e-books instead of having to go through Amazon.


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