Oyster's library is based on books from
Stromberg believes that “by not pushing a buy transaction on readers,” consumers are more likely to try a new book. “We think we can change habits and get people to read more,” he said, emphasizing that people have their smartphones with them all the time and “can take out their phones and read when they have a few minutes.” He added, “People who use the app are saying it’s bringing them back to books.” - Via Publishers Weekly
Oyster’s main goal is to make the process of finding and reading books much easier than it has been in the past. “You don’t have to decide, do I want to spend $12.99 on this single book?” explains Van Lancker. “Rather, you can just tap and get into it.” The founders figure that by removing the purchasing process, people will spend less time hemming and hawing over buying a book and more time actually reading it, which hopefully will lead to more revenue for the publishers, authors and Oyster - Via WiredI foresee more competing services coming soon, and indie authors reaping the lion's share of the benefits. This model has more benefits to self-published authors than traditional publishers, anyway. Considering traditional publishers are resisting dropping prices on their eBooks overall, it'll take a lot to get them behind taking subscription fees instead of selling individual books.
Indie authors are already jumping at this opportunity, although some are skeptical of the business model. In my original post, I suggested a percentage of the monthly earnings for the collective service for every book borrow. Oyster's terms will pay sixty percent of the list price for every ten percent of the book being read. That's an amazingly good deal for authors (essentially, getting paid every time someone reads the equivalent of the sample chapters), but some are wondering if it's a sustainable amount considering earnings. We'll see. But I'm optimistic. So is Mark Coker of Smashwords.
What do you think of Oyster? Would you use Oyster?
Note: Thanks to Reid Kemper for the tip
UPDATE: Thanks to Ashley at Oyster to correcting me on some of the details
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