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Brazilian Telecom Oi Launches Subscription eBook Service – Forgets to First Stock it With eBooks

Latin America’s second largest telecom oi telecom brazilopened a new subscription ebook service earlier this week, and early reviews are not good.

Oi, a company with millions of cell phone, internet, and phone line customers, opened the new Oi Bookstore service week. Subscribers will now be able to read up to 3 titles at a time via their web browser, Android app or (coming soon) iOS app.

The service costs 3.90 Brazilian reais per week, or about $1.69 USD, and (according to one Brazilian ebook blog) offers access to 130 titles.

No, that is not typo; it really is one hundred and thirty ebooks for 2 bucks a week. I found this story via Revolucao eBook, one of the Portuguese language blogs I follow, and they said that it offends the intelligence of consumers. I agree.

130 titles is a paltry catalog when compared to any of the other ebook subscription services. For example, Riidr One (in Denmark) offers a catalog of 5200 ebooks and 1500 audiobooks. Madrid-based 24Symbols has a catalog of 15,000 titles in English and Spanish.

Skoobe launched last year in Germany and now boasts 25,000 titles in their catalog, and even the Brazilian Nuvem de Livros service reportedly has a 7,000 title catalog. Heck, even Sesame Street offers an ebook subscription service with 150 titles, and that is effectively a single publisher (and they only charge $4 a month).

When compared with all those services, Oi Bookstore isn’t a commercial endeavor so much as it is a miss-scheduled April Fool’s Day Joke.

Just to put this blunder into perspective, the Brazilian ebook market was quite small in 2012 (R$ 3.8 million from 252 thousand copies sold). That figure is so small that if Oi can get even 1% of their customer  base to try Oi Bookstore, they could conceivably disappoint piss off more people at one time than the total number of people who bought ebooks in Brazil in 2012. Now that is smart.

Admittedly, I don’t think most consumers will be as annoyed as I am right now, but that doesn’t change the fact that Oi is throwing away a chance to enter a undeveloped market. The Brazilian ebook market is nothing but potential and Oi is throwing away their best chance to grab significant market share.

Oi Bookstore

Revolucao eBook

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Jaavi August 5, 2013 um 5:13 pm

Jeff Bezos buy The Washington post! ¿?

Nate Hoffelder August 5, 2013 um 8:04 pm

Saw that. What the bleep?

Juli August 6, 2013 um 9:28 am

Seems that Oi just wanted to put a foot on the market but is not interested in developing a channel of this at least for now.

Vladimir August 6, 2013 um 10:35 am

Scoobe, Riidr and 24 Symbols are not alone in Europe. There is two subscription services in Russia. They are the independent cloud book club Bookmate ( and MyBook ( The last one is affiliated with the major ebook shop Litres which is owned by the major Russian publishing house Eksmo.

Nate Hoffelder August 6, 2013 um 4:16 pm

I hadn’t heard of those. Thanks!

Vladimir August 6, 2013 um 5:38 pm

Bookmate now work in full option regime with Russian language, ebooks and publishers. In English is quite useful multi-platform service (web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone) for public domain ebooks and locker.

La telecom brasiliana Oi lancia un servizio di ebook in abbonamentoKindle Italia August 7, 2013 um 10:13 am

[…] Fonte […]

2014: the year of the eBook subscription service | Publishing Technology December 5, 2013 um 9:57 am

[…] program. Meanwhile Europe’s fragmented ereading market is at risk of further fragmentation as country-specific subscription services emerge. 24Symbols continued to do well in its Spanish speaking home market and two Dutch publishers WPG […]

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