Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oyster is poised to become the pearl of ebooks

As anyone keeping up on recent news in the ebook sphere can tell you, something very interesting has developed recently.  Oyster is a new subscription service for iOS (iPhone or iPad) that allows one to download and read as many books as you want for a flat monthly fee.  Very similar to the movie service Netflix or music service Spotify.  Although with those you need a internet connection to play the media.  Oyster allows you to download the books and read them even if you are not currently connected.  For example you could still read the book you just downloaded on a airplane.  Apparently they have over 200,000 currently published books (in other words not freely available elsewhere) in their library which will only grow from here on.

Amazon's Kindle lending library has something similar but only for those in Amazon's Prime service.  Also they are only allowed one free book per month.   Authors that do allow their book in Lending Library get paid every time their book is borrowed.  The amount varies, but in general about $2.00 USD.  The downside of this is you must be in the KDP Select program and therefore your book is exclusive to Kindle.

Oyster is also paying authors royalties with the same premise, however without requiring any exclusivity.  If anyone reads more than a sample of your book, you get paid.  If this catches on, it could change the entire publishing industry.  From content you purchase up front, to a service you subscribe to.  Now I don't see the whole thing changing over night, and it does have its downsides.  Personally I like owning my books instead of subscribing to a service, but I wouldn't be apposed to using the service to check out new authors.  Similar to going to a library first, then buying later what I like.  Either way this is a great service to readers and authors alike.

And for those already published though Smashwords: They signed a distribution agreement with Oyster.  Books should be shipping to Oyster by the end of September!  For those authors that want to be in on this great new service, they don't have to do a thing, just as long as they are Premium Catalog-approved.  Of course if you don't, then it easy to turn off sending your book to Oyster with the catalog settings.  But I don't see why anyone would want to.

While only for iOS, the app is coming soon to other platforms.  Which is interesting since Oyster said at launch they were only planning for iOS.  Apparently the large outcry for Android (and Windows) changed their minds.

In short keep a eye on Oyster, they are posed to become the pearl of ebooks.

Don DeBon is the author of Italian Fever.  Currently available on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo.

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