There is already a bustling group of startups touting themselves (or being touted) as the Spotify or Netflix of e-books – flat-fee subscription services offering unlimited access to a catalogue of digital books. Oyster is one of them, and it’s just raised $14m from Highland Capital Partners and Founders Fund to continue developing its business. This, for a service that is still iOS-only, with only one major publisher signed up for a licensing deal (HarperCollins is in, but Hachette, Macmillan, Simon and Schuster and Penguin Random House have yet to join it). TechCrunch has some startling details on the business model, claiming that Oyster pays a publisher 60% of a book’s retail list price every time a subscriber reads more than 10% of it. With a $9.95 monthly subscription, it would only take “say, three or four books a month” for this licensing structure to eat into Oyster’s profitability. And you thought streaming music services had tough licensing conditions…

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