Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Google’s grab of Oyster suggests ebooks, like news, are becoming “content” read on big platforms » Nieman Journalism Lab

From an insightful ebook subscription model reality check

"So Oyster joins a line of other promising-seeming ebook startups — Readmill (acquired by Dropbox in 2014), Push Pop Press (acquired by Facebook in 2011) — that were acquired by big companies not because they specialized in books but because they had good mobile reading tech that can be used to read any sort of content, not just books. It makes Oyster look pretty prescient for focusing so hard on its technology and mobile reading experience (as it did from launch — and which was surely one of the main reasons it raised $17 million from big VCs), because otherwise the company’s exit would only stand as a symbol of the fact that ebook subscriptions don’t work.

As it is, consider this acquisition a symbol of the fact that big tech companies are thinking of ebooks less as discrete units that are bought and sold (or subscribed to) as individual objects, and more as pieces of content that exist alongside a whole lot of other content being read on mobile phones. If the ebook business model hasn’t caught up, that doesn’t really matter to Google, which finds value in Oyster in spite of the books. Amazon is off in another direction, attempting to create a subscription platform that cuts publishers out entirely."
Google’s grab of Oyster suggests ebooks, like news, are becoming “content” read on big platforms » Nieman Journalism Lab
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