Yesterday Oyster announced they were going to enter the ebookstore market, and the initial reaction was that they are competing with Amazon for titles. All big 5 publishers have signed on. This is separate from their subscription service, which was popular for those seeking many books at a low price but who then discovered some of their favorite authors or desired books were unavailable from the subscriptions.
Apparently Oyster’s e-bookstore won’t have cross-over titles from their subscription service, which makes sense if you think about it- if you could sell a copy of your book for say 99 cents via their bookstore, then why would you want it bundled with a subscription model if your customers can’t find you anyway? I maintain that subscription models are great for readers and newer authors who are desperate for discover ability, but seasoned authors with successful novels or series may find the subscription model damaging to their earnings, since the wealth is essentially redistributed irregardless of how many downloads you have.
The argument is that Oyster isn’t so much competing with Amazon as it is to keep its members from leaving- they’ve lost some of their subscribers over the last few months as people’s buying and reading habits shifted.
Will this e-bookstore idea work for Oyster? Or will Amazon find a way to maintain its dominant status as the largest e-book publisher in the world? And don’t forget about HarperCollins- they are headed the way of developing their own platform and selling their authors on their site. We’ll stay tuned to the HC-Amazon dispute.