All-you-can-eat unlimited ebook subscription reading has finally come into its own with the launch of a couple of different platforms, namely Oyster and Scribd. Billed as a Netflix-style approach to reading, these platforms charge users one flat-rate monthly fee for unlimited access to their full catalogs of ebook titles.
When subscription-based ebook reading was first introduced, publishers and consumers alike were slow to get excited about it. The publishers maintained legitimate fears about author compensation and less-grounded concerns about piracy; since the publishers weren’t quick to put their content in the providers’ catalogs, consumers–even those who initially jumped on the idea–quickly dismissed it as being a monthly surcharge to read a less-than-enthralling catalog of titles.
But with the recent launch of these platforms and the current climate of stronger digital focus, publishers are more willing to venture into subscription reading. Today, Simon & Schuster announced its deal that will put its ebook backlist into both Oyster’s and Scribd’s catalogs, both from its US imprints and from worldwide imprints for which it holds the rights.
“Consumers have clearly taken to subscription models for other media, and we expect that our participation in these services will encourage discovery of our books, grow the audience and expand our retail reach for our authors, and create new revenue streams under an author-friendly, advantageous business model for both author and publisher,” said Carolyn Reidy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, in a statement. “We are delighted to work with Scribd and Oyster to offer this exciting new model for readers to find and read eBooks, and to do so in a manner that respects the value of our authors’ creative endeavors and supports our mutual goals of selling the most possible copies of their books.”
Oyster and Scribd already offered a catalog of over 400,000 titles each to their tens of millions of combined users, and Scribd also offers an additional million-plus titles of user-generated content.