Oyster Turns Off the Lights Following One Final iOS App Update

oyster logoOn Friday the ebook subscription service Oyster released the final update to its app for iPad and iPhone, and used that update to quietly announce that it was shutting down.

The three-year-old startup was acquired by Google last September, and had promised to remain open into spring 2016 as the staff transitioned over to Google. Alas, that did not happen; instead Oyster started closing accounts in late December. Judging by the tweets I found, Oyster closed accounts as each account came up for renewal, and then followed that with a formal shut down of the service on Friday.

In keeping with Google's usual reticence, Oyster has said little since the acquisition last year (in fact, the changelog for the last update includes little more than a broken link to an FAQ). “As we continue on, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of ebooks and mobile reading. We believe more than ever that the phone will be the primary reading device globally over the next decade—enabling access to knowledge and stories for billions of people worldwide,” the Oyster team said last fall.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it was widely assumed that Oyster sold out and shut down because its service was not viable.

Between Scribd, Oyster, and Kindle Unlimited, Oyster was the smallest of the mainstream subscription ebook services. Its service never expanded beyond the US, and given the financial problems that Scribd had last year it was reasonable to  conclude that Oyster's financial state made the sale more attractive than continued operation.

We did know that some members of the Oyster staff were going to work for Google on Google Play Books, but a check of LinkedIn showed that many Oyster staffers are still listing their old Oyster job, and not the new position at Google.

So clearly the company is still in the process of being dissolved, or at the very least this story is not over with just yet.

Stay tuned.

About Nate Hoffelder (11480 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Mousetrap of Better Book Discovery | Digital Book World
  2. Oyster Ebook Subscription App Shutting Down | The Digital Reader | The JimandZetta Blog
  3. Scribd Just Gutted Its eBook Service | The Digital Reader

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