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Oyster: A Netflix For Books?

Screenshot taken from Oyster website showing its iPhone app in action
Sean Fang Thu, 12/09/2013 - 23:21

A new subscription service has been labelled the Netflix of eBooks. Oyster, launched this week, asks users to pay $9.95 per month, and in exchange, offers them access to more than 100,000 eBooks. This model has been used with great success by Netflix for movies and TV shows, and Spotify for ad-free music listening, but Oyster is the first to offer this type of "all you can eat" plan for eBooks.

Oyster is by invitation only at the moment, and is only available to US iPhone users. And only one of the major five publishers, HarperCollins, has signed up so far. But even with the limited nature of the service (right now), the idea of paying less than $10 a month to read all the books you want may be tempting.

Popular and exciting titles that are currently available on Oyster includes "The Hobbit", Life of Pi," "Water for Elephants," and "Heart of Darkness".

Different to, but better than Netflix and Spotify in particular, Oyster also offers offline enjoyment capabilities; users can store 10 most recently read eBooks for offline reading.

Right now, the closest competitor to Oyster is Amazon's Prime subscription, which gives users access to the Kindle Lending Library of 350,000 titles. Users can only "borrow" one book from the lending library per calendar month.

For now though, Australian book lovers will have to wait. There are no plans for Oyster to make its way down under, although if its business model proves successful, it's only a matter of time before it, or a similar service, gives us a brand new, and better value way of getting our eBook fix. Stay tuned!

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