About two years after launching a “Netflix for eBooks” service, the folks at Oyster are calling it quits. The team announced on its blog that they’re “taking steps to sunset the existing Oyster service over the next several months.”
No specific reason for the move is given, but the blog post alludes to “taking on new opportunities to fully realize our vision for eBooks. What kind of new opportunities? Recode reports that many Oyster employees will be taking new positions at Google.
Oyster may have been one of the first companies to launch an eBook subscription service, but the company wasn’t the only player in the space. Scribd continues to offer a similar service. And the 800 pound gorilla in the room is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service, which offers readers access to hundreds of thousands of eBooks for a monthly fee, and which is also, you know, run by Amazon.
So what does it mean that much of the Oyster team is heading to Google? It’s a bit early to say.
Google might be planning to launch its own eBook subscription service. The company already sells digital books and periodicals through Google Play. But it’s also possible the team is just looking to build out its existing digital media services and hiring a group of professionals with experience in the digital book space could pave the way for doing something other than eBook subscriptions… although I’m not really sure what it would be.
Existing Oyster subscribers should receive email notifications about the impending shutdown soon, and if you want to request a refund for overpayment into the dying service, you can send an email to [email protected].