Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
If you haven’t read my guest post on Oyster books at Francis Guenette’s Disappearing In Plain Sight, bounce on over there and read it. Then consider the following:
Smashwords has announced the terms of its deal with Oyster — “the Netflix of books” — and, lo and behold, it doesn’t sound too shabby. You can read the summary here. In effect, a Smashwords author will receive 60% of the book’s cover price when an Oyster subscriber reads more than 10% of the book. Mark Coker of Smashwords explains, “Unlike ebook retailers that usually only sample the beginning of the book, an Oyster reader can sample the book from any point of the book, much as a reader of a print book can open it to any page.” In some cases this sampling could trigger the 10% sale point.
If this seems a little creepily intrusive from the reader’s point of view — i.e., Oyster is monitoring how much of a book you read — then maybe you’re my age or older. I have a feeling that younger subscribers, who are used to their smartphone activities being tracked up the ying yang, won’t worry about it much. Beyond that, though, you can imagine some wily authors organizing 10% parties where friends and family sample enough to trigger the sale. (Well, I can imagine that anyway…)
At this point it doesn’t seem like there’s a reason to opt out of Oyster distribution if you’re a Smashwords author. You might find some new readers there — readers who wouldn’t have discovered your work otherwise.
The real question will be how often will readers be exposed to your titles in subject or category searches. Will the typical “people who downloaded this also downloaded this” work to our advantage, or will Smashwords books be relegated to some specific category like “Indie,” which could be easily ignored?
Any early Oyster adapters out there? Care to chime in and tell us how it’s going?