Scribd officially launched its new ebook subscription service in conjunction with HarperCollins. It’s an all-you-can-read subscription for $8.99 per month, and now competes with eBook service Oyster, which launched just over a month ago. Scribd has, apparently, secured the bulk of HarperCollins’ catalog, and claims to have books from over 30 other publishers, including “thousands” of bestsellers. HarperCollins apparently chose Scribd because it already has the ability to reach large markets and build audiences at scale, rather than starting from the ground up, like Oyster. Scribd is offering the first month free as a promotion at the time of writing.
Oyster’s web launch yesterday proved that a Netflix-type rental system for books is indeed possible. It offers a well-designed app interface, books that users are often looking for, in unlimited supply, for a reasonable price point of $9.95 per month. Founded by former Google and Microsoft employees, the iPhone app launched with over 100,000 in-copyright books. Though some of the “hot best-sellers” might not make the cut – those books are doing anything and everything they can to make the most profit that they can – you’ll still find books you’ve heard of, from publishers you know. Whether this is a sustainable model is to be determined, but what’s for sure is that users are clamoring for this model across many mediums.
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