Oyster is well known in the US as being one of the few companies that participate in the Netflix for e-books space. The company has the support of a number of notable publishers and currently competes heavily against their arch-rival Scribd. Today, in a big to differentiate itself for the competition, Oyster has just launched a new digital bookstore.
Publishers have been tepid about e-book subscription services, the ones who have committed themselves to it, have primarily done it with older titles. This might be fine with people who like binge read, but what about all the bestsellers and new releases?
Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster have all contributed their entire catalog of e-books to the new Oyster bookstore. Oyster is betting that their existing subscribers will stick with the them to purchase the books they don’t have in their current catalog.
I think the one interesting thing Oyster is getting out of this, is likely an influx of new customers who are tired of all the drama with Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Obviously Oyster will never compete against these two companies, but it certainly gives them an edge over the other e-book subscription services out there.
Oyster launched in 2013 and exclusively is doing business solely in the US market. They currently have one million e-Books in their portfolio and membership costs $9.99 per month. They have apps for Android and iOS as an avenue to borrow and read. The company has raised over $14 million dollars from a number of venture capital companies and are not profitable yet.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.