When subscription reading was first introduced several years ago, companies like Spain-based 24Symbols introduced some of the first of a variety of different models. Some companies experimented with Netflix-style unlimited reading for a flat fee, others tried charging per page view, while still others tried freemium models. While any number of pricing and reading options may have suited the readers, early attempts at subscription digital reading fizzled because the publishers were a hard group to convince. It’s no wonder, though, as the time honored royalty structure was something the industry understood, whereas charging readers to read a page in their books was uncharted territory.
The end result was the very few publishers came on board with the services, and many of those who did only brought their back list or a handful of midlist titles. Now that the concept of ebooks and digital reading is firmly solidified for the industry, more and more publishers are accepting the invitations of a growing number of ebook subscription services.
Popular service Oyster has already had some success with introducing sought after titles into its catalog, and announced this week that Perseus Books Group would be contributing some titles to its growing library. These titles include Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger, Masters of Sex by Thomas Maier, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, and The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Other Perseus titles will be included in the Oyster library soon.
The deal with Perseus adds their titles to those from publishers who’ve already signed with Oyster, including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Workman, Rodale, Melville House, Verso, Akashic, Other Press, and perhaps most exciting, Smashwords, who has taken great strides this week in opening its catalog to rival subscription service Scribd.
This addition goes hand-in-hand with the more than 100,000 titles that Oyster already has available in its catalog, available in unlimited reads for $8.99 a month.