Oyster was one of the pioneers of the “Netflix for eBooks” market, offering subscribers access to thousands of digital books for a monthly fee. But now that rivals like Scribd and Amazon are offering similar service, Oyster is expanding… into territory dominated by Amazon.
Oyster is opening its own eBook store.
The company says it’s got a huge library of content including titles from the 5 major US publishers. That means you can either pay $10 per month for access to much of the Oyster library, or buy books outright and read them whether you’re paying a monthly fee or not.
Oyster’s library of books available for purchase will also be bigger than the company’s subscription-based offerings.
Titles can be purchased from the Oyster website or through an Android app. Oyster is also available for iOS, but I suspect Oyster isn’t giving iPhone and iPad users the option to buy books through the iOS app so that the company doesn’t have to give Apple a cut of the sales price.
I doubt the new eBook store will tempt users to throw down their Kindles and flock to Oyster. But current subscribers will now see titles that aren’t included in the monthly subscription as they’re browsing, which could lead them to make impulse buys without exiting the app or website to visit Amazon, Kobo, or NOOK websites.
On the other hand, while Oyster allows authors to upload eBooks in the EPUB format, the company’s business model is to let readers access the books using a website or mobile apps — not eReaders. So if you prefer reading on a device with an E Ink screen you might need one that can run Android apps.