Home » Ebook Subscriptions » Playster Subscription Service: A Review

Playster Subscription Service: A Review

25 March 2016

From The eBook Evangelist:

Playster is a multimedia subscription service owned by Playster Corporation. The corporation has offices in New York and the UK. The service offers a combination of books,  audiobooks,  movies, music and games and calls itself “the Netflix of everything.”

You can access content on up to six devices. There are no usage stipulations per se, although there is a clause in the TOS that states the service can “take any action that imposes or may impose (as determined by us in our sole discretion) an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our (or our third party providers’) infrastructure.” Theoretically, I suppose that could be used to stop someone who was using too much content, but there are no other explicit restrictions.

An Internet connection is required to use the service. It is a streaming service, not a download service. According to TOS, “Playster does use some data, and an Internet connection is required to access and consume our Content.”

. . . .

The service offers a bundled combination of books,  audiobooks,  movies, music and games for $24.95 month. Each of the services are available individually. Books and music subscriptions are $9.95 each monthly. Game subscriptions are $4.95 per month and movies are $3.95. There is a 30 day free trial before you are actually billed for your subscription and a credit card is required at the time of sign up.

. . . .

There were a quite a few titles in the preview section that I was unable to find once I had signed up. I don’t know if this is a geo-blocking issue. I have read a lot of complaints about Playster not having content they advertised as having as part of the service.

. . . .

There’s a fairly wide variety of books in numerous genres and categories: New York Times Bestsellers, romance, literary fiction, non-fiction, business books,  young adult and more. The books are a mixture of both newer and older material. The age of the titles varies with some newer (What the Dog Knows is from 2015), and some a couple of years old (American Sniper, 2012, Veronica Roth’s Four the Transfer,2013  and Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, 2013). There are also classics like 12 Years a Slave and Huckleberry Finn.

Currently, Playster has announced licensing deals with Findaway, Harlequin, Simon and Schuster and Harper Collins.

None of the subscription services have The Girl on a Train, so I was not surprised to see that ebook missing, although they do have it in audiobook form. I did not see The Hunger Games or Harry Potter as ebooks either.

The sheer numbers of certain kinds of books was interesting. There are lots of books by R. L. Stine (Goosebumps), plenty of Star War tie-ins and more Star Trek tie-in books than I have ever seen in one place in my life…. In fact, the science fiction collection was pretty amazing. There were collections of old SF magazines like Amazing Stories, Astounding, Weird Tales, Galaxy, IF – the list goes on and on. There were Best of Year anthologies from the 1970s that I would have loved to read.

Link to the rest at The eBook Evangelist and thanks to M for the tip.

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5 Comments to “Playster Subscription Service: A Review”

  1. They posted their service on kboards a while back and they didn’t seem trustworthy. I’m surprised they are in business. I checked out the website and can’t search the books to see what they have.

    That big 5 publishers signed up with them doesn’t show they are trust worthy, either. (Remember Author Solutions?)

    Will definitely keep an eye on them, though.

    ETA: Was reading the article again and they still seem fishy:
    1. they can block/stop you if you’re downloading too much content?
    2. They don’t have all the books they advertise. Um…okay

  2. “take any action that imposes or may impose (as determined by us in our sole discretion) an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our (or our third party providers’) infrastructure.”

    This sounds like an anti denial of service attack clause rather than a curb on legitimate users. Their infrastructure is pretty flimsy if a single user’s downloads could bring them down. An attack that uses a script to request a 500 downloads/minute is probably what they are worried about, although why the expect to be targeted eludes me.

    The service still does not add up, given Scribd, Oyster, and the antipathy toward eBooks of the traditional publishers.

    • The problem is though, by leaving it wide open like that they can charge you and then claim ‘any’ amount of actual usage you do is ‘unreasonable’. An ‘all you can eat’ place that only allows you to get one plateful — not to exceed fourteen grams … or one book per month.

      • You are right, but I don’t know of any click through terms of service that are not at least as nasty. Most require the consumer to accept arbitration chosen by the provider, which pretty much amounts to admission of guilt of anything the provider want to accuse you of. Only the powerful can negotiate reasonable terms. These guys are probably sleazy, but their TOS looks typical.

  3. Aside from the above-noted caveats on trustworthiness and basic ethics, why would I ever want to pay good money for a “service” like this?

    I can easily do it all myself. And do.

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