Saturday, September 07, 2013

All You Can Read

Digital Trends has an interesting article here on Oyster, a newly-launched reader subscription service that "allows subscribers to read as many books as they want for a monthly subscription price of $9.95." At the moment they're invitation-only, but the company is accepting invitation requests from iPhone users (which you can sign up for here).

While the article claims Oyster has 100K in available titles, I'm guessing their inventory will at first be limited to licensed/in-print works, or the usual public domain freebies (I couldn't find any titles list on their site, so what they actually have in stock is a big question mark.) But if Oyster can get authors as well as publishers on board with their service, very soon they may be able to provide readers with a very cost-effective alternative to purchasing single titles.


8 comments:

  1. Smashwords has signed up with Oyster. That will get a few extra titles out there. ;-)

    http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/09/smashwords-signs-distribution-agreement.html

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    1. Now that is very interesting -- and promising, too, for the indie authors. Thanks for the link, Deb.

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  2. I can read a lot of books in a month. I'm just saying...

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    1. Same here. If it were for nonfiction, they'd be in trouble letting me subscribe. :)

      I think it will be wonderful for voracious fiction readers, though. And reviewers who can't get the titles they want from NetGalley may find it a useful alternative source as well.

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  3. I could imagine that this is just the first step to a profitable future business strategy. Of course, some readers will benefit, but they will also read more books which in turn should please the author. And they might specifically come back to the author, especially when new titles are only available in the subscription a few months after the release.

    I'd still like this, there are so many books that I never find in a store or on Amazon, just because they were released 4 or 5 years ago.

    Nico @ Leaf ♦ Pub

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    1. I'd like to see authors put the first book in a series on this service, and reserve the remainder to be sold via more traditional venues. That way the readers get to test drive one book for a much lower price while authors can preserve their income.

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  4. The question is "profitable for who?"

    I did some searching, and the terms for the authors and publishers aren't listed anywhere that I can find.

    So, it could follow the business plan others have where the revenue is given to the publisher to distribute as they wish with no info on who was read, and some major publishers aren't distributing it.

    Even if Oyster is very generous with the division of profit and the authors get a decent chunk, you'd have to have a hell of a lot of readers to make up for the loss of profit for just one sale of your book.

    Any author who wants to break even, let alone make a profit at this business, would be insane to agree to Oyster's terms.

    The winner is Oyster. For the short term, readers, but, if you suck out all the profit in the business writers stop writing, and that's a big long-term loss for readers.

    If you want cheap books, there's always the library.

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    1. I agree with most of your points, Marilynn, but I wonder if we writers really have a choice. The one thing I do know about readers is that they often can't afford to purchase all the books they want to read, and if this service helps them get more books, it may result in new sales for the author. Personally I wouldn't put my entire backlist on Oyster, but as I mentioned to Nico above I'd be okay with having the first book in every series I've written on it. Then readers can get a decent sample before they decide if they want to invest in more.

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