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Oyster Applies the Netflix Business Model to eBooks

The video entertainment industry has seen a massive shift in its business model over the last several years thanks to the success of subscription-based streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon.  Following these changes, music-streaming services like Spotify and Rdio also grew rapidly and proved the subscription model works for music as well as video.  However, there is one form of entertainment that until recently was still untouched by the purely digital subscription model: books.  Cool product Oyster wants to change that with a monthly subscription model for eBooks.  The team at Oyster has seen that the market proves that subscription-based entertainment is a viable business model and they want to prove that eBooks are the next form of entertainment that can benefit from this system.  Currently, they offer a monthly subscription where users can access any of their library of 100,000 books on any iOS device as often as they want.  If you have concerns about using your Apple products to read books, find Apple tech support to learn more. 

For part-time readers or those who consume only one novel a month or less, Oyster will probably not make much of an impact.  However, for power readers or those who spend half of their time at the bookstore or online looking for new reading material, Oyster presents a solid value proposition.  It will cost less than buying trade paperbacks or individual eBooks and there will always be a steady stream of new literature easily accessible.  Oyster’s potential market, while probably viable, will likely not be as large as video-streaming service like Netflix due to being limited to these types of power readers.

It is tempting to point out that technically, Oyster is not the first digital subscription service for eBooks, as public libraries have had digital services for several years now.  However, most public libraries digital options require some effort to fully take advantage of, and they limit what books you can read and how long you have to read them.  Oyster is trying to eliminate these potential inconveniences.  Where many people may need tablet tech support just to load a library book onto their iPad, Oyster wants to create a simple search and click interface with its mobile apps.  We’ll just have to wait and see whether that added convenience is enough to keep bringing in new customers to Oyster’s service.


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