Subscriptions shrug off Oyster

Subscriptions shrug off Oyster

Publishers are signing up to subscription services at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair despite the recent news that start-up Oyster, a proponent of the model, is to close next year.

Nathan Hull of Denmark-based subscription service Mofibo said the company had been at Frankfurt closing content deals with publishers and continued to enter new territories.

“The Oyster news hasn’t changed the challenges we faced - if anything, it has prompted more dialogue because more people are keen to learn how we are successful and generating sustainable revenues,” he said. “Publishers remain intelligent, they could see that story for what it was. Mofibo is at the fair to close deals on existing negotiations and to open dialogues with new territories that have approached us based on our success, model and approach.”

US-based Oyster revealed it would close in early 2016, two years after its launch. The service had partnered with major publishers such as HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Bloomsbury, with the trio listing titles on the $9.95 a month all-you-can-read service. Other major houses, such as Penguin Random House and Hachette, have yet to join any subscription services. Oyster founders Eric Stromberg, Andrew Brown and Willem Van Lancker have reportedly been hired by Google, to work on its Google Books offer.

Simon Dunlop, co-founder of social reading subscription service Bookmate, said: “These are still early days for the digital reading market and there will be some failures along the way. We see that subscription works well for Millennials and readers on mobile devices—that channel is growing fast. It is incremental, and not cannibalistic, to publishers’ other revenue streams.”