The World’s Mine Oyster

The book world is changing rapidly. Now you can have an entire library of ebooks at your fingertips for less than $10.00 a month.

According to Smashwords, who will be delivering books for the new Oyster app:

oysterA reader downloads the beautiful Oyster app, available for the iPhone and iPad. If they subscribe to the $9.95/month service, the customer gains access to a massive catalog of ebooks, of which Smashwords books will soon be included. Readers can read as much as they want or as little as they want. The books are contained within the Oyster app, and cannot be transferred or shared. If the customer ends their subscription, they lose access to the book. This is fair and reasonable. The customer is subscribing to a service, and for as long as they maintain their subscription, they read whatever they want. It’s a very similar offering to Spotify in music and Netflix for film and television entertainment.

A single Oyster user could conceivably read multiple books by the same Smashwords author in a single month, and the author will be paid for each book. As a Smashwords author or publisher, you’ll earn 60% of you book’s retail list price whenever an Oyster subscriber reads more than 10% of your book, starting from the beginning of the book forward. It’s an author-friendly model. That’s the same rate Smashwords authors earn when we sell ebooks through the major retailers such as Apple and Barnes and Noble.

Oyster’s subscription service will help you connect with a segment of the reading audience you’re not reaching anywhere else. Oyster will also give authors yet another reason to steer clear of exclusivity and embrace full distribution with Smashwords.

The first books to be delivered to Oyster by Smashwords will be their bestsellers, but eventually, my books will be available, too. Although this seems like a good deal for everyone, I doubt I’d ever subscribe to such a service. It spooks me that someone would keep track of what I am reading, and would know as soon as I read more than 10% of a book. Besides, by the time I got used to such a book delivery system, something newer and even more innovative will come on the market.

And anyway, I don’t have an iPad, iPod, iPhone or any other iProduct.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.