Oyster Review: The Netflix for Books

Oyster Book Subscription App. Get your free month +$15 off.

Are we dreaming? Is this for real? Unlimited reading for only $9.95 per month. WOW!

 

Meet Oyster Books, a new app that provides unlimited access to more than 500,000 books through its $9.95 subscription service. It is pretty darn close to your public library available in an app – only you won’t see ‘checked out’ notices, overdue costs, or gas to and from. Of course, it’s not perfect or for everyone … here’s some notes to see if it’s a good fit.

 

Pros

  • Save money. If you buy more than one book per month (digital or paper), then you would easily save money.
  • Ease of use. Digital access is so easy. Once you turn the page on your last book, just find another (and don’t worry about paying for it or checking it out).
  • Tons of books. In fact, it looks like Oyster is ever-expanding their library.  They recently announced that powerhouse publisher Simon & Schuster joined Oyster – adding access to Stephen King, Dan Brown, Ernst Hemingway and others. Of course, this doesn’t mean every book S&S publishes will be available.
  • Best design. Oyster Books is beautifully designed and the best online book experience yet. The graphics are crisp, clean, stunning and it’s easily the best visual digital book experience you can ask for. I found myself browsing just because … much like I would a bookstore.

Cons

oyster_activity
iPad and iPhone Oyster app.
  • **Only iOS available  – iPads, iPhones.  So this won’t work on Kindle, Nook or any other device. But there’s hope that it will. In fact, if you’d like to keep updated on the Android app, add your name here … it’s a sign they are working on it. (** Note: On June 17, Oyster announced they had added an Android app. See our full review of the Android vs iOS app here.)
  • Limited Library. Much like Netflix, you shouldn’t expect to have newly released books (and if this is what you spend your book $$ on, then keep in mind!). None of May’s New York Times Bestsellers are included in the current Oyster library. And they don’t have some books that your local library probably does. For instance, no Nora Roberts or John Grisham at this time.
  • Limited search functions. You can only search one thing at a time. I would love to have a filtering system where you can select, for example, Romance – Historical – Regency and then display a list of authors (vs individual books). And the desktop website version is not as friendly/usable as the app.
  • Limited book organization/categorization. After you’ve read a book (or even before) it would be great to categorize them.

Overall, it’s not perfect. It’s not available for Kindle/Nook (yet … we’ll keep you posted).  But am I going to get my dad a subscription for Father’s Day? Absolutely. It’s a great option for any avid reader. And even without having current bestsellers, there is so much variety that you’d have plenty of reading material. Oyster is a game-changer for any book addict.

(** Note: On June 17, Oyster announced they had added an Android app. See our full review of the Android vs iOS app here.)

If you’re interested in testing out a free month trial and getting $15 off, click here.

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