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  1. #1
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    Dec 2010
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    Future of books sites like Oyster Books?

    I just found the book subscription site Oyster Books - it is essentially like Netflix for books. There is a monthly subscription fee and for that you can read as many books in the library you want. There are some sf/fantasy books available so far but not too many. Just glancing I did see some well known fantasy authors - Raymond Feist, Robin Hobb, Dave Duncan, Richard Kadry, Ursala Le Guinn, Tolkein, Kate Elliott, Kristen Cashore. Is this kind of service going to be the future of ebooks the way Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime has the movie/tv streaming industry? I personally like to own my books (be they electronic or paper) so I don't know how I feel about it yet. Its an intriguing idea. How will this effect authors? I worry that authors will lose out in the long run. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Jul 2013
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    Kansas
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    I think it's an interesting idea, too. What intrigues me is that a service like Oyster could allow you to read a work and find out if you like it before you buy it. At times I hear about a book that I'd like to read, but I'm not sure I want to buy it. Here in the middle of the U.S., it can be hard to obtain SF/F books on interlibrary loan. I haven't yet tried it myself; I'm waiting to hear more about the selection.

    As an indie author, I think we'll do okay from services like Oyster. Our connection will either be direct, or through a distributor (like Smashwords). That means we shouldn't have too much trouble getting paid, so long as readers subscribe to these services. I'm not sure how traditionally published authors will fare, since it's likely to be a matter of rights and royalties, and what the publishers will be willing to grant them.

  3. #3
    Registered User StephenPorter's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
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    I don't imagine it will hurt the publishing industry any in the same way that public libraries haven't hurt it either. You can make arguments about people reading stuff and never paying the author, but honestly those are probably the people who simply wouldn't have bought the book anyway. I know I have found new authors by reading their books from a library, and then gone on to buy them. I have several books on my shelf that I've never even opened because I'd already read the library copy, but i wanted to own it. This system will likely have very similar effects. So I certainly think it'll be harmless and perhaps even beneficial to the publishing industry.

    What I'm not so sure about is whether the service itself will last. People check out books at a library because it's free. There may not be enough people willing to pay a subscription for it, especially in areas with a good public library system set up. Maybe it will work out. They may be hitting on an e-reader market that has different priorities than library users. But libraries are getting into e-book lending as well, so I'm doubtful that there will be enough customers to keep the service afloat when they can still check things out on their e-reader from the library for free.

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