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‘Netflix for E-Books’ app to iPad



When I found this article on Mashable, I had to go download it and find which books were available. Audible is great, but there are still some titles they don’t have yet. Enter “OYSTER”.. So far I’ve added these to my reading list.. Not bad for a quick 15 minute run through 🙂

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A little more than a month after launching an iPhone app in invitation-only beta, Oyster is making its e-book subscription service available to all users and expanding to iPad.

Oyster charges $9.95 a month for access to more than 100,000 books from big and small publishers, but it now offers users one free month with the hope of getting more people to try the app experience. The startup declined to provide data on the number of users or books read during the beta period, but noted that 1 million pages were read in the first 10 days the app was available and another million pages were read in the following six days.

“When people first sign on to the [iPhone] app, they engage with several titles and when they find what they want, they generally stick with that from start to finish,” Eric Stromberg, cofounder of Oyster, told Mashable in a recent interview. “With the iPad, what we are really hoping for is that people might spend an hour just browsing through books in the same way that you do your local bookshop or local library.”

The iPad app very similarly to the iPhone app, but with more of an emphasis on using the screen’s extra real estate to enhance the browsing experience. Oyster highlights books in different categories, similar to Netflix, shows which books your friends are reading on the service and lets readers flip through pages by scrolling up and down or tapping on the side of the page.



Just in the few weeks since Oyster unveiled the beta version of its app, the so-called “Netflix for e-books” space has grown noticeably more crowded. Scribd, the popular document sharing service, jumped into the ring earlier this month with a slightly cheaper ebook subscription service — $8.99 per month — but an undisclosed number of books to read.

Trip Adler, Scribd’s cofounder and CEO, described the new e-book service as a logical extension of its subscription option for premium documents and argued that Scribd’s more established brand made it a stronger contender to dominate what he sees as being a multi-billion dollar market.

“Netflix is worth about $18 billion. Spotify is worth about $3 billion,” Adler told us at the time. “I don’t see why there isn’t a similar opportunity in this space.”

Stromberg appeared to be unfazed by Scribd’s entrance into the market. “It’s no surprise that other people see that same opportunity that we see,” he said. “But the space is very early.”

When asked whether he too believes e-book subscriptions could be a multi-billion dollar market, Stromberg had a more cautious answer than Adler. “We have aspirations for our company and certainly look to other companies like Netflix, one of the largest technology companies in the world, and see that as a great indicator that a company like ours can grow.”

Oyster has raised $3 million to date from Founders Fund and plans to build out its service on other platforms in the future.

Source: Mashable

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