Macmillan titles come to Oyster and Scribd's e-book subscription services

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Knock another major publisher off the list of holdouts for ebook subscription services. Oyster announced Tuesday morning that it had reached an agreement with Macmillan to bring 1,000 titles from the publisher and its imprints to Oyster’s Netflix-like offering.

UPDATE: After this article was published, Scribd confirmed to PCWorld that it also struck a deal with Macmillan, and that the publisher’s 1,000 back catalog titles are coming to that service as well.

Macmillan’s 1,000 book titles will come from the publisher’s back catalog as it experiments with putting ebooks on subscription services. That could change in the coming months if Macmillan sees benefit in offering its titles with Oyster. Publishers such as Grove Atlantic and Houghton Mifflin, for example, now offer new releases after experimenting with their back catalog, an Oyster representative said.

The impact on you at home: With the addition of Macmillan, two major publishers remain holdouts towards ebook subscription services like Oyster and Scribd: Penguin Random House and Hachette. Nevertheless, having three of the so-called “big five” publishers is still a boon for avid ebook readers. Oyster says it now has more than one million books thanks to the Macmillan partnership and agreements with smaller publishers such as Bloomsbury, New York Review Books, and Soho Press.

A look at what coming

Books from Macmillan should start appearing to Oyster users today. 

Readers can expect to see books from Macmillan imprints such as Tor, which has books from noted writers including Orson Scott Card and Robert Jordan. Other Macmillan imprints like FSG and St. Martin’s Press are also headed to Oyster. Specific titles readers can expect on Tuesday include Wild Cards I by George R.R. Martin and Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein—both from from Tor. General titles coming from Macmillan include Sea of Poppies by Amitav Gosh and Full House by Janet Evanovich.

Oyster is one of serveral companies looking to become the “Netflix of ebooks” by offering all the books you can read for a monthly fee. Oyster currently charges $10 per month, while rival Scribd is priced at $9 per month. This summer, however, the two services got a new challenger when Amazon joined the ebook subscription fray in July with its new Kindle Unlimited service priced at $10 per month.

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