Media News Roundup: “Netflix for Books”; Google’s China Ban

Here’s a collection of media business and tech news that caught our eye this week, with a touch of explanation and commentary:

The ‘Netflix for Books’ Just Invaded Amazon’s Turf

  • Oyster is an e-book subscription service that offers its subscribers, who pay $9.95 a month, access to over 1 million e-books in a fashion similar to that of Netflix’s offerings of movies and television; as long as they are connected to the internet, users can read as much of any of the e-books available on Oyster as they please at any time using their phones, tablets or computers.
  • On Wednesday, April 8th, Oyster announced that it would soon offer the option for subscribers and non-subscribers alike to buy individual e-books, both to expand its reach past that of its subscribers and to give customers access to things like new releases and pre-orders which subscribers of Oyster currently do not gain immediate access to.
  • Oyster will have a hard time challenging Amazon’s massive e-book empire which was solidified by the development of the Kindle, but it has favorable relationships with publishers that Amazon has not been able to establish which set it apart and make it an appealing platform for major publishers to consider.

Google Bans China’s Website Certificate Authority After Security Breach

  • The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) is the government agency which ensures that sites using .cn addresses and Chinese-language domains are legitimate sites that are secure and safe for users to access.
  • Following findings two weeks ago that the CNNIC had not taken steps to ensure the maximum security of the security certificates it issues and had instead made them very vulnerable to unauthorized and potentially harmful interception, Google announced that its Chrome web browser and other affiliated products won’t recognize security certificates issued by the CNNIC.
  • This is a fairly drastic and unusual step taken by Google, and it will be interesting to see how the CNNIC responds and the effects this has on Google Chrome users in China.