Oyster-about-lede-logotypeScript@8xThe Oyster e-book subscription service will stay open through early 2016, according to Smashwords CEO Mark Coker.

Along the way, he compares Oyster’s economics with those of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

“How can Oyster, Scribd or any bookseller compete when Amazon can pick the pockets of authors and give the savings to readers?” he asks.

On the brighter side, Nate tells how Scribd is now offering audiobooks from Hachette, Macmillan, HighBridge Audio, Tantor Audio and Recorded Books. You’ll be able to read such authors as Jonathan Franzen, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Sherman Alexie and David Wallace.

Related: What Oyster going down demonstrates is not mostly about the viability of ebook subscriptions, by Mike Shatzkin.

“The business model they were forced to adopt for the biggest publishers — paying full price for each use of a book with a threshold trigger at considerably less than a complete read while, at the same time, offering consumers a monthly subscription price that barely covered the sale of one book, let alone two — was inevitably unprofitable,” he writes.


  1. As always, Mark Coker of Smashwords has an excellent take on the ‘sunsetting’ of Oyster and what this means over the long run for authors, particularity with Amazon going for exclusivity and market domination.


    In this hard, cruel world, knowing who’s your friend is very important. Mark Coker is the only ebook retailing executive of any importance that I know is on the side of authors. And yes, I’ve talked people at Apple’s iBooks division, and they seem friendly enough, but none have Mark’s visibility. They’re a quiet little group, almost invisible.


    This comment by Mark in the comments section is particularly revealing: “Amazon names publishers in their financial filings as their competitors, so why should they be surprised that Amazon is hell-bent on destroying their business?”

    Think about that for a moment. Do supermarket chains “name” companies such as Kellogg or Kraft as their competitors? Would it be healthy for consumers if that chain succeeded in destroying those giant food companies, so the public would have to buy their products? Hardly.

    And those who gloat at the thought of the Big Five publishers getting crushed should ask themselves what will happen afterward. Does a hungry lion, have consumed all the larger prey, decide to give up food rather than go after smaller prey? Hardly.

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