Unproven Thieries

The Netflix of Everything: Why Companies Don’t Want You Making Decisions

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Netflix, as you may have heard, is great. A digital economy of scale allows us to pay a ridiculously low price for an ocean of streaming video that we could never hope to watch in all the years we might live, and in return we typically get frustrated by moderate price increases and the recent removal of 24. We keep our subscription through thick and thin, largely because it would be a slight inconvenience to cancel it. Other companies have caught on, and all the big players are trying their hands at movies, TV, music, video games and more. We in the media tend to call this modern incarnation of an old idea “The Netflix of blank.”

It doesn’t stop with entertainment. There are subscriptions for beauty products, clothes,  groceries, contraception, razors, and pretty much everything else you could imagine. Even neo-taxis, like Uber and Lyft (which still require you to make a purchasing decision every time you use them) function mainly by banking on the idea that they can become a sort of transportation default, thus avoiding that pesky moment where people check to see if they’re really getting a deal or not. None of this is new (magazine subscriptions, cheese of the month clubs, Costco, etc.), but both digital distribution and the logistical streamlining of the 21st century are supercharging it. Read More

Freshly Minted

Why’d Apple Buy Beats and Booklamp? Probably to Build a Massive Subscription Platform

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Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week and tell you what you need to know and why it matters.

The deal: Apple acquired book analysis startup Booklamp for an alleged $10 to $15 million, likely to begin work building a book subscription platform, or something much bigger.

Apple is always stark and shady when it comes to their acquisitions. They’ve bought a number of under-the-radar startups, and when asked why, they offer up the same response:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More

Apples and Androids

Reading Habits Indicate Android Users Are Fun, iPhone Users Are Lifehacking Megalomanics

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In the war between iOS and Android, there are a few things we know: iPhone users are big spenders, live in more affluent neighborhoods and are vastly outnumbered by their Android counterparts. But now, we also intimate knowledge of their reading habits, which shows us more about their personalities than anything we’ve seen so far.

Oyster, the Netflix for books, released a study of their readers this morning, comparing the reading habits of iOS users with the Android users that have signed up since their recent Android release and redesign. Oyster told Betabeat that they pulled from their entire user database for the study. Read More

Freshly Minted

Freshly Minted: For This Book Subscription Platform, The Publishing World Is Their Oyster

As reading habits shift over to digital, subscription models are poised to seize a huge portion of the ebook market. (via Getty)

Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week, and tell you what you need to know, and why it matters.

This week’s deal: Oyster, the Netflix for books, signed a deal with Simon & Schuster that will give Oyster subscribers access to Simon & Schuster’s entire backlist.

Oyster, a service that charges $10 a month for all-you-can-read access to a library of half a million books, just added heavyweight Simon & Schuster to their list of publishers. That makes two of the Big Five companies that dominate the publishing game, and if Oyster can sign on the remaining three publishers, they could take their place among companies like Spotify and Netflix as one of the great subscription titans of the decade. Read More

Read More

This Startup Will Digitize Your Towering Piles Of Unread Books

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The Japanese call it “tsundoku” — the act of buying books, letting them pile up and eyeing them wistfully while never finding time to read them. Well, a new app want to help you digitize those books so that you can finally get around to finishing them.

Bitlit, an app that allows you to take your physical book collection and convert it to digital, has completed their seed round today. They’ve declined to say how big the round was, but among the investors is Michael Serbinis, who’s had plenty of reading tech experience as founder and former CEO of eReader company Kobo. Read More

Kids These Days

The Netflix For Children’s Books Adds 1000 Titles From HarperCollins

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Epic!, a subscription app for children’s books, just closed a deal with HarperCollins that will give its subscribers access to over 1000 books, including classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, Frog and Toad, and The Secret Garden. This comes on the heels of last night’s announcement that Oyster has signed a similar — but much larger — deal with Simon & Schuster.

Epic! has only been available for two months, and has already landed deals with two of the five top publishers, the other being Simon & Schuster. Epic! cofounder Kevin Donahue says that the appeal of book subscription apps for big publishers is that they can make money off of older books that otherwise wouldn’t even find their way onto shelves. Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Facebook Is Now Letting Teens Post Their Tantrums Publicly

Now on iPad. (Photo: Oyster)

Facebook is cashing in on the “teen trend” by allowing users aged 13 to 17 post publicly, which the social network can sell ads on. [New York Times]

Twitter has picked up another Googler to head up retail ad sales as it preps for an IPO. [Variety]

Oyster, the “Netflix for ebooks,” has landed on the iPad. [GigaOM]

Verizon Wireless made a measly $30 billion in revenue last quarter. [The Verge]

Importantly, the Pandacam is coming back online today now that the government shutdown is now over. [WJLA]