Playster Capitalizing on Oyster’s Shutdown, Scribd’s Reduction

Playster Capitalizing on Oyster’s Shutdown, Scribd’s Reduction Playster, which bills itself as “the all-inclusive, global media and entertainment platform,” came out of beta in December, entering the ever-changing field of ebook subscription services. What distinguishes Playster from similar efforts, though, is that “inclusivity” the company touts: users can bundle ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music and games all under one service.

With Playster having been available for just over a month, we sat down with the company’s CEO, Philip Keezer, to discuss how well the service is faring, the state of current subscription services, and what the future holds for Playster.

So Playster came out of beta a little over a month ago. What has the response been like?

Much more.

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DBW Interview with Mike Shatzkin, Conference Chair, Part 1 (DBW)
The Digital Book World Conference + Expo is right around the corner, taking place March 7th-9th in New York. And to find out more about some of the programming that’s scheduled, as well as some insight into the state of the book publishing industry, we sat down with Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company and Conference Council Chair of DBW, to get his thoughts.

DBW Conference Publishes New White Paper on ‘Digital Transformation’ (DBW)
A newly published white paper from the Digital Book World Conference + Expo offers insights about some of the most important book business and digital content topics—from the book industry’s ongoing digital transformation, to “Big Tech” and publishing, to personalized content, new publishing revenue streams, audiobooks, copyright issues in a digital age, and how to capitalize on key opportunities, among other topics. The white paper, “Viewpoints on Publishing’s Digital Transformation,” is free and available to download now.

Are Paper Books Really Disappearing? (BBC)
That ebooks have surged in popularity in recent years is not news, but where they are headed—and what effect this will ultimately have on the printed word—is unknown. Are printed books destined to eventually join the ranks of clay tablets, scrolls and typewritten pages, to be displayed in collectors’ glass cases with other curious items of the distant past? And if all of this is so, should we be concerned?

A Mini Bookstore for Kindle Ebooks (GeekWire)
It only takes up a couple square feet, a small fraction of the size of Amazon’s first real bookstore in Seattle, but the company has been quietly making another foray into physical retail, offering individual ebook gift cards for sale under a pilot program at Bartell Drugs in Washington state.

Amazon Prime’s US Membership Grew 35% to 54 million in 2015 (GeekWire)
In a report released Monday, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimated Prime members in the United States ended 2015 numbering about 54 million, up 35 percent from the same period in 2014. CIRP also said its research shows that 47 percent of Amazon’s customers are Prime members. The web’s biggest retailer doesn’t publicly disclose these figures so estimates are all we have.

Authors United Still Wants DoJ Probe of Amazon (PW)
“The central problem is still with us,” said Douglas Preston, referring to the power Amazon yields in the book business, at a Winter Institute 11 talk called Authors, Agents, and Booksellers—United for a Fair Marketplace. The session, hosted by ABA CEO Oren Teicher and held during this weekend’s show in Denver, examined where things stand six months after Authors United pressed the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon’s “deleterious impact” on the book industry.

How Amazon Could Offer Its Own Delivery Service (The Street)
Amazon has always made it clear that logistics are a priority for the company, but recent developments and reports show the e-commerce giant may be taking this priority to a whole new level. In fact, traditional carriers like UPS and FedEx may have good reason to worry.

3 Publishers Changing the Comic Book Industry (CNBC)
Over the last 10 years, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing and BOOM! Studios have done what few mid-size comic book publishers have been able to do: survive.

Who Will Win the Publishing Battle in 2016? (Forbes)
2015 was an eventful year in the publishing world: Vox acquired Re/code, Vox and Buzzfeed raised $200 million from NBCUniversal respectively, Vice Media received a $200 million investment from Disney and partnered with HBO on a multi-year programming agreement, Facebook launched Instant Articles to natively host publishers’ content, and Apple launched Apple News. This year, we’re going to see even more changes and innovations in the publishing space. As the CEO of a publishing technology platform for digital media companies, here are a few trends I predict to be big this year.

Look to Local Authors and Translation in India (Pub Perspectives)
In India, reading local authors in many local languages is thriving, making translation a crucial strategy for Indian publishers to widen their reach within the country.


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