Oyster's Matthew Shatz on Helping Publishers Tap Next Generation of Readers
Is Oyster a better fit for a publisher's backlist?
How long a book has been out isn't really the central piece for us. The way we think about it is finding readership where it otherwise wouldn't exist. The brand new John Grisham is definitely going to find its audience. There is less of a role for Oyster in that. But there are a lot of books -- it could be a HarperCollins backlist or it could be a new release from Melville House -- where we're able to build an audience for that book that they wouldn't get otherwise.
A lot of our largest publishing partners see roughly 70% or more of their books get at least one sale over the course of a month. The sales pattern tends to be very spread out on Oyster, which is an indicator that we are driving sales of books that otherwise aren't getting attention.
How does the commission work for publishers?
The core is that we pay a publisher or a supplier when a book is read, and "read" is defined as going past a certain threshold. That's what we serve out. It is our core model, but not every deal is the same. We do other deals that might involve different types of economics.
What would you say to publishers with concerns about undercutting the value of their books?
The first thing I'd say is that we're seeing incredibly rapid adoption from publishers. We're up to 500,000 titles.
Second, I would say that many publishers realize that it is in their interest to reach the next generation of readers, and there are more and more readers who want to read and consume through this access model. If you want to reach that audience, having great products out in the marketplace that serve the needs of those readers is really important.
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