Last week I learned about Oyster, a site that has been dubbed “Netflix for Books”. My first impression: Interesting.
Here are the details:
- For $9.95/month, members get unlimited access to over 100,000 titles.
- It’s currently available via invitation only. You can request an invite here. (I requested an invite on 9/7 and received it yesterday (9/9) so the wait wasn’t too long.)
- It’s only available for the iPhone and iPod Touch right now but are said to be working on an iPad version. (For the record, I am able to use the iPhone app on my iPad Mini.)
- Oyster is only available in the United States. In regards to expanding beyond the United States, Oyster says “Book rights are regional and right now we are focused on building a best-in-class offering for the U.S. market. We don’t have a timetable for international expansion, but we are committed to growing Oyster and making it universally accessible over time.”
Dear Author recently did a post on the Oyster app, which I recommend reading. Also, I thought Rie from Mission to Read brought up an interesting advantage that Oyster may have in the fight against ebook piracy. Since the ebooks Oyster offers to its subscription members are only readable in the Oyster app, there’s no downloading ebooks, which could help fight against ebook piracy. This could entice publishers and make them feel more comfortable in allowing their titles to participate in Oyster’s subscription service.
The two big questions for me are: (1) How many more publishers will jump on board, and how many of their titles will they allow in Oyster’s catalog, and (2) What does their romance selection look like? While only time will tell in regards to the first question, I can shed some light on the second question. When I clicked on the link in my Oyster invite email, it directed me to their website where I was to select 5 books to start off with. And these are the romance titles I was able to choose from:
That’s 72 romance titles, though I am not entirely sure whether or not that is indeed Oyster’s entire romance collection. I did not go forward with the membership as it does not prove beneficial for me at this point in time. That, of course, can certainly change, depending upon how many and which publishers jump on board with the Oyster subscription system. I do find the price point to be enticing, considering the average book price hovers in right around $10. So to have unlimited access to a library of 100,000+ ebooks, so as long at there are books available that I want to read, sounds like a good deal for someone who reads 2+ books a month.
I want to know what you think of Oyster’s ebook subscription service. What do you think of their price point of $9.95/month? What do you think of the selection of romance titles Oyster currently has available? How likely are you to buy a subscription membership, at this point in time or in the future?