Friday, May 22, 2015

Netflix for books is officially a thing and it's called 'Oyster'

If you're a movie nerd, chances are that Netflix is the best $9.99 you spend every month. If you're a music geek, ditto for Spotify. Now, bookworms will be able to capitalize on the same type of hyper-availability and monthly payment structure thanks to an app called Oyster.

Netflix for books is officially a thing and it's called 'Oyster'

If you're a movie nerd, chances are that Netflix is the best $9.99 you spend every month. If you're a music geek, ditto for Spotify. Now, bookworms will be able to capitalize on the same type of hyper-availability and monthly payment structure thanks to an app called Oyster.

Oyster was started last year by a group of tech guys, including Willem Van Lancker, who spent time as the head designer for something called Google Maps (maybe you've heard of it). The mobil app functions similarly to Netflix and Spotify, except that it's more like an actual library in the sense that it offers users access to 100,000 ebooks from publishing bohemoths like HarperCollins and Workman.

Though an iPad app isn't due out until later this fall, the iPhone app already allows for much of the functionality of the likes of Netflix and Spotify.

Like Netflix, Oyster lets users search by title, genre and also offers recommendations for topics in the news, or in theaters. Since it’s on the iPhone, Oyster has social features that let you follow friends to see what they’re reading and vice versa. There’s also a privacy mode, in case you don’t want to advertise that self-help book or Vampire novel (or any other in the “paranormal lust” category) to your network. Stromberg and Van Lancker are tight lipped about how publishers or author get paid through the platform–Netflix licenses content out-front, while Spotify pays publisher each time a song is played.

An Oyster subscription will run you $9.95/month and, considering that these guys threw this thing together and inked these kind of content deals, that $9.95 will probably get you more and more as Oyster gains momentum and publishers begin to take notice.

Happy reading, you guys. [Forbes]

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