By Laura A Lacey, on 29 March 2013
Oyster last year announced they had raised $3million to create a service for eBooks that works along similar lines to Spotify. They seek to collectively license eBooks from publishers: including fiction and non-fiction, and everything from bestsellers to classics.
Oyster have partnered with media and technology companies, as well as publishers. This mirrors the growing trend across the creative industries as owners of intellectual property seek to exploit their copyright in all possible formats, and sellers try to provide services above and beyond simple content delivery.
The trendy-looking New York-based team (pictured) are focusing on Access, Discovery and Mobile:
ACCESS: By adopting a subscription model they believe readers will be able to enjoy books more freely, dipping in and out of new authors without investing money: ‘This leads to a more fulfilling experience built exclusively on taste and relaxed reading’.
DISCOVERY: They realise that discoverability comes down to many factors and a lot of chance. They believe by combining ‘discovery with consumption’ they are removing frustration that comes from receiving recommendations in many locations.Readers will enjoy the process of discovery by sharing the same library with their friends, with no need to hunt for links.
MOBILE: Their claims as far as mobile goes are perhaps less easy to agree with: they claim their market research has shown that all readers (from avid to casual) ‘love reading on smartphones’. This has certainly has not been my experience. Perhaps it will be in future – as mobile devices become larger and more comfortable to read on it is thought ‘phablets’ will be one of the most prolific devices for sale.
Only time will tell if their venture will be successful and how many publishers will be willing to give up their content for a limited fee. Currently it is in testing mode with just a few. Their aspirational aims certainly sound idyllic:
“We are building Oyster for an audience that aspires to read more. Read all the books you wish you’d read. We hope to bring books to the center of people’s lives through a beautiful product and the feeling that the world is your oyster.”