Oyster's Matthew Shatz on Helping Publishers Tap Next Generation of Readers
What led to Oyster's creation?
Based on my conversations with the three co-founders, there were three factors that when put together spelled a big opportunity.
I think one factor was the growth in mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets coinciding with the growth of ebooks. There was a huge hockey stick there on the consumer side.
I think the second thing from a consumer side was that there was a clear trend that has only grown since then -- consumers really love the access model. The convenience of having content at their fingertips is really powerful for consumers, as shown by Spotify and Netflix, which had already gained some momentum.
The third factor is the publishing industry piece -- a huge channel shift was going on at the time. Borders had just gone through bankruptcy and was shutting down. The Department of Justice's inquiry into Apple was in full swing, so Apple's place in the future of the business was very uncertain. Barnes & Noble was facing, and still is today, uncertain prospects. I think the channel shift created several opportunities for Oyster.
What solutions does Oyster bring to the industry?
Publishers talk a lot about how to solve discovery for books. Lots of retail stores are closing which is obviously the largest platform for traditional discovery. I think this model has really solved those problems. One of the stats we often share about discovery is that for every one book a user reads on Oyster, they will begin reading four more.
We're focused now on continuing to increase discovery and there are multiple paths to achieve this. It's getting more subscribers. It's building an Android app so we can reach more users. There are a lot of tentacles, if you will, off of our central goal, which is to increase readership for books that otherwise wouldn't have it. That's what we're focused on.
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