Oyster is a subscription ebook app that is like a Netflix for books. Intrigued, I signed up, received an invite and checked it out in order to see if YA readers would find this service helpful and worth the money.
The Netflix of Reading: Oyster Books Review
How It Works
Readers pay $9.95 a month to read unlimited books on the Oyster app, which specifically designed and formatted the books to be read on phones (just iPhones for now). Readers can get the app by invitation (i.e. it is not open to the public at large), and it is currently only available in the U.S. right now.
Oyster has created the service with on-the-go reading in mind, so the screen shots they provide of how the app will look on the iPhone are stunning.
After I signed up, I could browse from a small menu of genres on the left side of the page. At the top of the page, there were 5 blank book images. After clicking and selecting a book, the image would then appear at the top of the page to get my account started.
The categories/genres were limited to: Religion and Spirituality, Romance, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Sports, Technology and Science and More (read: miscellaneous).
As you can see from my screen shot, under the Sci-Fi and Fantasy section, I was pleasantly surprised to see Graceling by Kristen Cashore and books by Terry Goodkind, J.R.R. Tolkien and Robin Hobb. A very good selection from that category.
A young adult or children’s category was not listed, but books in those genres were scattered throughout other larger categories.
After browsing and choosing the 5 desired books, users are then promoted to add payment information.
Note: This is as far as I went with the process, as I have an Android phone and am unable to download the Oyster app.
My review is based on the website usability and the books available, as I have not been able to download the Oyster book app.
For the young adult book obsessed, I would not recommend paying for this reading service just yet. Although a solid number of books are offered, there are few YA titles. If you read a broader range of books across other genres, then I do think this app is worth trying out for at least one month.
One concern I would have with Oyster would be how often they add and update books available to read. The service offers unlimited books per month, but for avid readers who read maybe 3-5 books a week, the entire number of books available on Oyster could be read through quickly.
We, the avid readers, are probably the outliers. As a consumer, I also want my money’s worth. However, if you were to read two books a month on Oyster it would easily pay for itself, as most ebooks are about $9.99 per book.
Oyster is a new service, and as it grows and adds titles, I think this could be a very exciting option for YA readers and book bloggers. The unlimited part is what interests me the most.
Plus, I love that it’s made for mobile use. Instead of lugging around two or three hardback books in your purse, you can bring them up on your smartphone and read on the go.
For those with ereaders, reading on the go is second-nature. The ability to sync from an ereader to mobile may be something that Oyster lacks for you.
I look forward to taking another look at this service when it becomes available for other devices.
Have you signed up for other reading services like this one? Are you thinking of trying out Oyster