One of the biggest complaints of subscription eBooks services is the lack of content. For many that means lack of content from the big publishers. Both Scribd and Oyster have done a good job of pulling in indie published books with their partnerships with Smashwords and others, but until now Harper Collins was the only big publisher to sign on.
That just changed. Simon & Schuster will now be distributing backlist titles to both Scribd and Oyster. It’s only “more than 10,000 titles” so far, which is only a small percentage of the 400,000 or 500,000 titles the services claim, but it will mean titles from authors a majority of readers will be familiar with. The release didn’t specify which authors, however.
Obviously this is a good move for readers. However, I also think it’s a good sign for the sustainability of the services. Many, myself included, have concerns about the financial viability of an all-you-can-read service. Personally, I’ve read 28 books through Scribd this year. That’s 5.6 books a month, on average, so far, and May isn’t over yet. I’m the type of reader who finds subscription services attractive, but too many of me and costs won’t be covered. Having another big publisher sign on is an indication of confidence in the model.
While all this sorts out over time, however, more choice is a good thing. I think. My to read list in Scribd is already quite long. Do I really need more books to add to it?
How about you? Any backlist Simon & Schuster books you’re excited to read?