Books / design / technology

Oyster App Places the Literary World at Your Fingertips

“the world’s mine oyster”

So goes the famous quote from Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor and now a defining namesake in the literary world with the release of a new e-book sharing app, Oyster.


Unofficially dubbed the Netflix for e-books, Oyster allows subscribed users unlimited access to a virtual library of over 100,000 (and growing) titles at a monthly fee of $9.95. Currently, the Oyster app is only available in the US for users on iPhone and iPod Touch but there are plans for being available internationally and a Fall release on iPads as well. To start using the service, you must request an invite on the website. I requested an invite about a week ago and received a formal invitation and personal access link yesterday.

There are no formal plans for developing on other platforms but the website states that with growth, this could be a possibility. The exclusivity to iPhones is a huge bummer since I just switched from an iPhone to an Android (gasp, I know, the hypocrisy!) after I requested the invite but I’m hoping Oyster will come to other platforms soon.


Having unlimited access to a growing library of current and classic book titles at the tap of your fingertips is an amazing concept. Not to mention some cool features on Oyster like personalized book recommendations based on reading activity and following what friends are reading or seeing what other people have in their virtual libraries. I’d like to think Oyster will be paving the way for devoting more time to reading and a modern take on sharing and recycling books. Also an added coolness factor that the Oyster team is based locally in New York City and run by a small group with technology, business and design backgrounds with a great mission:
“We created Oyster to evolve the way people read and to create more of the special moments that only books can offer. From anywhere a mobile device can go—a bustling subway car, a quiet coffee shop, or lost at sea with a Bengal tiger—our mission is to build the best reading experience, one that is both communal and personal, anytime, anywhere.”
Check out the beautiful images of this app and start imagining some super fun quality time cozying up to the glow of your mobile:
While I think this is a unique service that will satisfy avid readers everywhere and boost book-sharing, I don’t know if I’m fully on board just yet.
I admit I’m a bookworm, I read a couple books per month and sometimes multiple books at once, but I’m not sure how much I’d like reading my books on my phone. At this point, I don’t know if I could justify or fully make the most of the $9.95 monthly price tag to read on my phone. If Oyster develops something for Kindles, then I’d be all in.

What do you think about this app? Are you signing up to use Oyster? Let me know if you’ve tried it!

 All images from the Oyster website. Check out the Oyster blog for reading inspiration, book recommendations and more.

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