Oyster, a Netflix for e-books, is promising rival to Apple, Amazon

Netflix did it with movies. Spotify did it with music. And now a New York start-up hopes to do the same with e-books.

Oyster, as it’s called, launched its subscription service Thursday and is offering users access to more than 100,000 e-books for just $9.95 a month. The start-up also says it plans to add new e-books to its app each week.

For now, only iPhone users who receive invitations can sign up for the service, but others can head to Oyster’s website to request an invite. The start-up also said it plans to release an iPad app this fall.

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Oyster is hoping to find the same kind of success that Netflix and Spotify have with subscriptions, but it may have a tough time competing with Amazon and Apple, two of the biggest players in the world of e-books.


Although a subscription with Oyster costs about the same as one or two e-books might cost with Amazon or Apple, the two established e-book giants offer far more books than does the start-up subscription service.

Apple claims to offer 1.8 million titles in its iBookstore while Amazon sells more than 2 million e-books. In fact, Amazon has four times as many exclusive e-books (400,000) as Oyster does altogether.

Oyster may succeed, but it’ll probably have to grow its catalog quickly if it wants to draw customers away from Amazon and Apple.


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