Oyster is a new start-up which is trying to shake up the way we monetize reading books, namely by applying the same model which already works for movies to the printed (or digitally inked) page. The execution is simple enough. Customers spend $9.95 a month, and they get access to over 100,000 launch titles from major publishers. Read as much or as little of any book in the catalog.
It’s first launching on the iPhone with an iPad version in the works. No word on Android or Windows Phone versions of the service. If the service proves popular at all however, it would be an easy retrofit for the Google Play store. Google recently released a subscription service for music.
The idea of an unlimited monthly book subscription service is interesting. I like having a library of books both dead-tree and digital to look at. These things that I own and can page through any time I like. Oyster could combine my desire for immediacy, while overcoming my fear of buying books I might not like. I got over the notion of owning a DVD library when Netflix introduced streaming. Maybe this could work for books too?
What also remains to be seen is how subscription services might impact libraries in the future, as many are now offering ebooks.
Currently Oyster is invite only. More info at https://www.oysterbooks.com/