Macmillan to offer all-you-can-read books with Oyster and Scribd

Publisher Macmillan will offer 1,000 of its titles through the e-book subscription services Oyster and Scribd. It’s the third major publishing company to sign on with the all-you-can-read e-book services.

Oyster and Scribd are competitors that both hope to become a “Netflix for e-books.” Subscribers at either service pay flat monthly fees to read as many e-books as they like. A third rival is Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

In signing on with Scribd and Oyster, Macmillan has joined fellow major publishers Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

Remaining are Hachette, which had a bruising battle with Amazon over e-books last year, and Penguin Random House, the world’s largest publisher. A representative for Penguin Random House told the Associated Press that the company is “uncommitted at present to offering our books for any subscription services.”

In a December letter to his authors, Macmillan CEO John Sargeant wrote that offering books through subscription services, which generally pay publishers and authors less per book than an actual sale, is a “significant long-term risk.”

Nevertheless, he wrote, “We need broader channels to reach our readers.” Macmillan books that users can expect to find in Scribd or Oyster’s offerings include older titles that are hard to find in bookstores, including books by Mario Vargas Llosa, Ursula K. LeGuin and Greil Marcus.