Oyster, the e-book subscription service launched this year, has reached a deal with the Perseus Books Group to launch a pilot program offering 100 Perseus titles through the Oyster subscription catalog. This is Perseus’ first subscription e-book deal, and it includes the possibility of adding Perseus’ Distribution clients.
In a phone interview, Oyster CEO Eric Stromberg said the new deal will “offer a mix of classic and newer titles” from Perseus imprints. “Perseus is the latest top ten publisher to team up with us and it’s very exciting,” he said, “they see that they can show off their titles to a new audience.”
Perseus Books Group CEO David Steinberger described the new deal as a “pilot” program featuring 100 titles from Perseus imprints. “We always launch pilot programs with in-house titles” Steinberger said, “and we evaluate before we make our distribution client titles available.” However, Steinberger was quick to note that the agreement with Oyster does offer the “opportunity” to add Perseus’ distribution titles to the Oyster program. Perseus distributes about 500 publishers through its various distribution units, which include Perseus Distribution, PGW, Consortium and Constellation.
Oyster launched with a selection of HarperCollins titles in addition to offering books from Houghton Mifflin, Workman, Rodale, Melville House, Verso, Akashic, Other Press, Smashwords and others. Launched in September of this year, Oyster is a subscription model e-book reading service that gives readers unlimited access to more than 100,000 titles for $8.99 a month.
Stromberg also said that since Oyster’s launch, their data indicates that about 50% of their subscribers access its content using mobile devices, principally by smartphone. “We can let publishers see who their readers are,” Stromberg said,
“We’re excited to have our books on Oyster,” Steinberger said, “this is a first step and has the potential to give us access to a new audience for our books.”