Ebook Service Oyster Shuts Down, Google Grabs Its Employees

Sep 24, 2015

Oyster-often referred to a "the Netflix of ebooks"-announced on September 21 that it was closing up shop-sort of. The company wrote on its website: "We believe more than ever that the phone will be the primary reading device globally over the next decade-enabling access to knowledge and stories for billions of people worldwide. Looking forward, we feel this is best seized by taking on new opportunities to fully realize our vision for ebooks."

Then it continued: "With that, we will be taking steps to sunset the existing Oyster service over the next several months." Recode then reported that Google was hiring many former Oyster employees-including its co-founders--for its Google Play Books. Recode called the move an "acqhire", meaning that Google had effectively acquired Oyster without, you know, actually buying the company.

NiemanLab took it one step further, though, writing, "I'm hearing that Google acquired Oyster's assets, including its tech, its discovery tools, and its editorial content - that includes The Oyster Review, the online literary magazine run by Kevin Nguyen, who joined Oyster from Amazon in 2014." However, Google does not seem to have acquired Oyster's contracts with publishers.

(google.com, oysterbooks.com)