Netflix for books? Oyster launches with over 100,000 in-print titles

netflix for books oyster launches with over 100000 in print titles splash page 970x0

After lining up investors and publishers over the last ten months, book subscription site Oyster has launched in an invite-only capacity for the public. Similar to the format of the Netflix and Spotify business model, Oyster allows subscribers to read as many books as they want for a monthly subscription price of $9.95. Featuring publishing partners such as HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Oyster has more than 100,000 digital books that are under copyright and would otherwise cost consumers money to purchase the books at retailers like Amazon.

Oyster-Profile-PageAt the moment, Oyster is also negotiating with the other top book publishers in order to expand the content library available for users. Some of the most popular titles currently available on Oyster include Lord of the RingsShutter Island, The HobbitWater for Elephants, Life of Pi, Fast Food Nation, The Carrie Diaries, The Giver and the C.S. Lewis series of Narnia titles.

One caveat to the service is that it’s only available for the iPhone at the moment. While the company plans to launch an iPad application during Fall 2013, Oyster representatives haven’t indicated if Web or Android support is on the way.

Developed by a former designer at Google and Apple, the Oyster iPhone application is quite stunning and fairly easy on the eyes. Oyster has included five different themes that can be applied when reading a book as well as adjustments for text size and brightness level of the screen. Oyster subscribers can use the application to find new titles to read in the book discovery tool as well as search for specific books by title, author or keyword. If you are familiar with the Netflix design when browsing movies, you will be right at home in Oyster when scrolling through book covers.

After setting up an Oyster profile, a subscriber can also set up a reading list. This allows the user to find of all their marked books in one place as well as keep track of the books that have been read over the lifetime of the account. In addition, users can follow other Oyster users and check out what books their friends are reading as well as look at personal ratings of specific books. It’s basically a secondary way to discover new books, very similar to checking out Amazon reviews prior to purchasing a title.

oyster-iphone-app-screens

Again similar to Netflix, Oyster has put books into specific collections in order to recommend related books. If you were reading The Hobbit for instance, the recommended related books include other Tolkien books as well as nonfiction inspired by the Lord of the Rings series. Opposite from Netflix, Oyster doesn’t require a persistent Internet connection. Simply download the book first and you can access it offline when sitting on an airplane or in another area that lacks Web access. 

If Oyster is successful at recruiting more publishers and expanding to new platforms, it could provide some serious competition to other services. While Amazon’s Kindle Lending Library, available to Amazon Prime users, is certainly a competitor with a larger content library, Amazon’s model only allows users to check out one single book per month as opposed to Oyster’s all-you-can-read model. The public library is also an option for users that don’t want to pay for digital books, however there are often significant waiting times for popular titles and limits on the number of books that can be checked out at any given time.

Deals

Apple Watches get steep smartwatch discounts for Memorial Day

If you've been thinking about picking up a new wearable, an Apple Watch is one of the best smartwatches you can buy. With Memorial Day sales from Walmart and Amazon springing up all over the place, now is a great time to save.
Computing

One of these monitors will look great next to your new MacBook Pro

Apple doesn't make its beloved Cinema Display monitors anymore, which makes finding the best monitor for the MacBook Pro more difficult. In this guide, we break down some of our favorites and offer something for every size and budget.
Mobile

The world can be your oyster with a little help from the best travel apps around

Traveling doesn't need to be a time-consuming nuisance. Our handpicked selection of the best travel apps will keep things simple, whether you need cost comparisons for hotels or directions to renowned eateries.
Mobile

Leaked cases show off the new iPhone's squared camera module

The last iPhones just launched, but rumors about the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Gaming

Apple Mac users should take a bite out of these awesome games

Contrary to popular belief, there exists a bevy of popular A-list games compatible for Mac computers. Take a look at our picks for the best Mac games available for Apple fans to enjoy.
Mobile

T-Mobile One is being rebranded to Magenta, new users get to keep discounts

T-Mobile offers a number of plans for you and your family, but how do you know which one is best for you and your situation? Here, we break down the specifics of each plan to help you decide.
Apple

Apple iPhone Lightning Dock gets price knocked down to just $39 on Amazon

Apple acolytes are always eager to buy brand-name products, and the Lightning iPhone Dock is a solid option as a desktop charging station. Secure yours now at Amazon for just $39, down from $50.
Deals

Apple iPad and iPad Pros get big discounts for Memorial Day weekend

Apple iPads have been getting a lot of great discounts so far this year, and Memorial Day 2019 proves to be no exception. With prices as low as $249 for newer models, Memorial Day weekend is a great time to pick one up.
Apple

Apple Watch Series 3 and Samsung Gear Sport get price cuts in Amazon sale

Smartwatches are more in style than ever, with the world of wearables now inundated with options. Two big brands are now available at deep discounts, with the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Samsung Gear Sport smartwatches on sale on Amazon.
Deals

Amazon Memorial Day sale: Apple Watch, Surface Pro, and 4K TV Deals

Amazon is discounting a number of different items. Smartwatches, tablets, 4K TVs, smart home devices, and laptops are all getting discounts to stay competitive with prices from Walmart and Best Buy.
Mobile

The 20 best iPhone SE cases to keep your phone looking like new

Protect your iPhone properly with one of the best iPhone SE cases or covers. That metal-and-glass body is prone to scuffs and scratches, so it pays to buy a decent case. We've got protective and stylish options for you here.
Computing

Should you buy a MacBook Pro or a Razer Blade Stealth? We'll help you decide

Laptop head to heads are a great way to see which one might be the right one for you. Our latest sees the Razer Blade Stealth (2019) vs. MacBook Pro in a fight to see which one deserves to be your next laptop.
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Home Theater

With tvOS 12.3, Apple’s TV app begins its platform-conquering journey

Apple's redesigned TV app experience is here, and it's on Apple TV, iOS, and even some smart TVs. But what exactly is this new experience and how is it different than Roku, Amazon, and others? We've got the answers.