‘Netflix for Books’ Startup Oyster Is Shutting Down
September 23, 2015 - Kindle Unlimited
Oyster, a supposed “Netflix for books,” is shutting down.
The two-year-old association says it will take stairs to “sunset” a Oyster use over a subsequent few months and will respect customers’ requests for refunds over the subsequent few weeks. It’s not immediately transparent accurately since a association is shuttering a operations, though as Re/code primarily reported, most of a team, including CEO Eric Stromberg and co-founders Andrew Brown and Willem Van Lancker, are fasten Google to work on a company’s Google Play bookstore. (Google reliable a pierce in an email to WIRED.)
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“We trust some-more than ever that a phone will be a primary reading device globally over a subsequent decade—enabling entrance to believe and stories for billions of people worldwide,” a co-founders wrote in a blog post. “Looking forward, we feel this is best seized by holding on new opportunities to entirely comprehend a prophesy for ebooks.”
The news comes as a bit of a surprise—Oyster was one of a vital players in a e-book subscription space along with San Francisco startup Scribd and Amazon, that offers all-you-can eat reading through Kindle Unlimited. Unlike Amazon, however, Oyster had a subsidy of a Big Five publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon Schuster—who offering their books on a service. (The Big Five also work with Scribd.) The e-book subscription business indication is based on paying publishers a sum of income after “a satisfactory portion” of a book is read, as good as sharing anonymized reading activity with publishers to assistance them aim readers.
All of that sounds sensible. But we still don’t know how it works in practice. Neither Oyster nor Scribd has published information on readership. In a leaked letter last July, Scribd suggested it was formulation to lift thousands of intrigue titles since wild fans of a genre only review too much. The import was that model operated many like a gym membership: after locking in your joining to a prosaic monthly fee, a services save money if we used them less.
Meanwhile, there’s a good possibility Amazon Kindle Unlimited, that sits absolutely within a incomparable primogenitor company, isn’t in any danger. That might be since many of Oyster’s group is relocating to Google. It’s misleading either Google is formulation to launch an e-book subscription to contest with Amazon, though a employing of many of Oyster’s group should during slightest give a tech hulk a boost if they ever wish to pursue that venture.
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