I love to read. In a typical week I’ll go through 3 – 4 books. I get my books from Amazon and read on my Kindle or my phone. It seems like I just never have enough titles on my list – I’m always adding more. Unfortunately, when it comes to purchases, the cost can really add up. When I found out about Oyster I was thrilled. All the books I want for only $9.99 a month? Dream come true, people. I sent in my request for a beta invite and waited patiently to be accepted. This isn’t a sponsored post. No ma’am (Sir?). I paid my $9.99 and started flipping through titles. So what is Oyster? Here’s a peek.
We created Oyster to evolve the way people read and to create more of the special moments that only books can offer.
Oyster is a new app for iPhone, iPod and iPad devices. You pay $9.99 each month and can read as many books available in their inventory as you want. No borrow limits, no specialty titles available for an additional fee. Anything you want – $10.
You create a user profile then search through their available selection by author, genre or suggestions. You can follow other readers as well to get ideas of what you want to read next or what’s hot in the literary circles.
The interface was absolutely beautiful. Seamless, smooth scrolling and you can customize your page appearance through font size, style, background color etc. Unlike reading on your iPad app or Kindle where you turn pages in the same way you would a hard print book, with Oyster you flick the screen up or down. It also has this cool feature where it times how long you take to read a page and then estimates how long you have until the end of the chapter.
It’s such a fabulous concept – it’s like Netflix, but for books. The $9.99 price tag is a value when you think about the fact that just one eBook on Amazon can cost you upwards of $18.
Here’s where I tell you why I canceled my subscription…
1. Selection. While Oyster may have over 100,000 titles and most of the top players on the Best Sellers list – they are missing a lot. For example: I love Stephen King. I couldn’t find a single King title. In fact, there was no ‘horror’ search genre at all. There were hundreds of mysteries and who-done-its, but that’s not what a horror reader is looking for (it’s actually a genre I don’t like to read at all). I searched for many of my favorite titles that never made it to the best sellers list, but were widely read – couldn’t find them.
2. No straight to eBook authors. Oyster (so far) seems to only offer hard print authors. Which is fine…if you’ve never known the joy of tripping across a hidden gem on Amazon. If I put down the titles of my top 100 favorite books I’ve read in the past few years, it’s a safe bet that at least half of them are from authors who are self published and have never been seen on a shelf in Barnes & Nobel. With Oyster you don’t get that option.
Even though Oyster may have some excellent titles available, I realized that I’d still be hitting Amazon to find little-known authors and books still not available through the app. Meanwhile, I can find all of those gems plus the bookstore titles at Amazon. I realize Oyster is new and they’re still working on their collection. But, why would I pay $10 in addition to the purchases I’ll still need to make on Amazon while I wait for them to catch up? I won’t; I’ll get both from one source.
In the future, if Oyster opens up their selection to include the horror genre and independent authors, then I might find my way back. But until then I’ll be snuggling down with my Kindle.
If you’d like to give Oyster a spin, they now have open subscription available HERE with your first month free.