Scribd's deal with Penguin Random House may be getting much of the attention today but they're not the only subscription service to sign a new publisher.
Playster announced on Tuesday that it had signed deals with S&S and Harlequin to add additional titles to its subscription platform. The deal includes works from Jennifer L. Armentrout, Robyn Carr, B.J. Daniels, Jeannette Walls, Cassandra Clare, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Doris Kean Goodwin.
Like their deals with Oyster and Scribd, Simon & Schuster's contract only covers its backlist, so it is limited to past best sellers like The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Harlequin and S&S mark the second and third major publishers to sign with Playster, following the deal Playster signed last month with HarperCollins. All told, Playster now offers 100,000 books.
That is a decent track record for a subscription service which has so far managed to fly under the radar.
When it officially launches later this year, Playster will offer a streaming media service which will serve up movies, music, books, and games under a single subscription. Sixteen dollars a months will buy you unlimited access to a cornucopia of content which Playster says will be accessible on virtually any mobile device and web browser.
The service is in beta right now, and I've been playing with it for most of the afternoon. I'm not exactly overwhelmed by the selection in any single category, but I am beginning to like the diversity. Unlike most subscription services, Playster covers multiple types of content. Netflix does video, Scribd does books (3 types of books, but still books) but Playster offers video, books, and more.
I have the feeling, as I sit here writing this post, that the diversity of the content is more likely going to keep me coming back to Playster than to other services. On days where my attention span measures at "Squirrel!", I can flit from one Playster category to another without getting bored. That feels like it has more value than competing services which offer a better selection in any single category.
That said, the service is not without its problems. It's still in beta, and some things don't work (for example, I can't stream movies). There's also no iOS app (although there is an Android app), and a lot of the games I am interested in trying require that I install Playster's app on my PC (the install process failed).
To be fair, Playster is in beta, so they're still working out the bugs before the planned launch this summer. No one could reasonably expect them to have a flawless platform at this point, which is why I plan to circle around and reevaluate the service as the launch day approaches.