January 20, 2021

Ebooks: Oyster Closing Ebook Subscription Service as Company Leadership and Other Team Members Hired by Google

Does today’s news mean that Google will launch/rebrand Oyster to compete with Scribd and Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited in the ebook subscription space?

Let’s Review Today’ News:

1. Oyster Plans to Sunset Ebook Subscription Service (via Oyster HQ Blog)

As we continue on, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of ebooks and mobile reading. We believe more than ever that the phone will be the primary reading device globally over the next decade—enabling access to knowledge and stories for billions of people worldwide. Looking forward, we feel this is best seized by taking on new opportunities to fully realize our vision for ebooks.

With that, we will be taking steps to sunset the existing Oyster service over the next several months. If you are an Oyster reader you will receive an email personally regarding your account in the next few weeks. We look forward to sharing more details soon, but rest assured, your account will continue to operate normally in the meantime.

2. From PW

Calls to Oyster for comment have yet to be returned. The company launched in September 2013 and eventually secured about $20 million in venture capital investment. There are reports that the company has been sold and that the new owners chose to close the Oyster business.

3. From Re/Code:

A rep for [Google] confirmed that “a portion” of the Oyster team has joined Google Play Books, its online store for books. People familiar with the company say that CEO Eric Stromberg and co-founders Andrew Brown and Willem Van Lancker are part of the team joining Google.

Google is resistant to the notion that it bought Oyster. But sources said it will end up paying investors, who put a reported $17 million into the company, for the right to hire some of its staff.  In other words, this is an acqhire.

See Also: Additional Coverage From The Digital Reader

Note: It appears that it’s still possible to register for the Oyster service (as of 9:00 PM, Monday).

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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