suggested reading

Oyster Launches a Lit Mag For Their Erudite E-Readers

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.16.59 AM

There’s something about ebook reading that’s still icky for some finicky readers who fancy themselves intellectuals. Maybe it’s that the ~handfeel~ of an iPad doesn’t stand up to the deckled edges of a Penguin Classics Deluxe edition, or that there’s no street cred from reading Capital in the Twenty-First Century if no one in Caffe Reggio can see the book jacket. But that doesn’t mean these readers can’t be won.

Oyster, an app that’s most often described as being “Netflix for Books,” is launching a literary magazine called The Oyster Review.

The new digital mag is the first brainchild of writer, editorial remixer and famed Internet Person Kevin Nguyen in his new role as Editorial Director for Oyster. Mr. Nguyen joined the startup a few months ago after he was poached from Amazon, where he put together the Best of the Month picks as a books editor. Read More

Freshly Minted

Why’d Apple Buy Beats and Booklamp? Probably to Build a Massive Subscription Platform

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 11.53.55 AM

Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week and tell you what you need to know and why it matters.

The deal: Apple acquired book analysis startup Booklamp for an alleged $10 to $15 million, likely to begin work building a book subscription platform, or something much bigger.

Apple is always stark and shady when it comes to their acquisitions. They’ve bought a number of under-the-radar startups, and when asked why, they offer up the same response:

“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Read More

Apples and Androids

Reading Habits Indicate Android Users Are Fun, iPhone Users Are Lifehacking Megalomanics

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 10.24.09 AM

In the war between iOS and Android, there are a few things we know: iPhone users are big spenders, live in more affluent neighborhoods and are vastly outnumbered by their Android counterparts. But now, we also intimate knowledge of their reading habits, which shows us more about their personalities than anything we’ve seen so far.

Oyster, the Netflix for books, released a study of their readers this morning, comparing the reading habits of iOS users with the Android users that have signed up since their recent Android release and redesign. Oyster told Betabeat that they pulled from their entire user database for the study. Read More

Freshly Minted

Freshly Minted: For This Book Subscription Platform, The Publishing World Is Their Oyster

As reading habits shift over to digital, subscription models are poised to seize a huge portion of the ebook market. (via Getty)

Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week, and tell you what you need to know, and why it matters.

This week’s deal: Oyster, the Netflix for books, signed a deal with Simon & Schuster that will give Oyster subscribers access to Simon & Schuster’s entire backlist.

Oyster, a service that charges $10 a month for all-you-can-read access to a library of half a million books, just added heavyweight Simon & Schuster to their list of publishers. That makes two of the Big Five companies that dominate the publishing game, and if Oyster can sign on the remaining three publishers, they could take their place among companies like Spotify and Netflix as one of the great subscription titans of the decade. Read More

Read More

This Startup Will Digitize Your Towering Piles Of Unread Books

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 3.10.32 PM

The Japanese call it “tsundoku” — the act of buying books, letting them pile up and eyeing them wistfully while never finding time to read them. Well, a new app want to help you digitize those books so that you can finally get around to finishing them.

Bitlit, an app that allows you to take your physical book collection and convert it to digital, has completed their seed round today. They’ve declined to say how big the round was, but among the investors is Michael Serbinis, who’s had plenty of reading tech experience as founder and former CEO of eReader company Kobo. Read More

Books

Simon & Schuster’s New Online Venture Is Sure to Be Another Expensive Failure

Part of a photo on 250 Words' Facebook page.

It comes as a surprise that Simon & Schuster is launching yet another new books site, called 250 Words. 

The publisher’s first foray into literary websites was Bookish, a book recommendation site started by the Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and Penguin USA.

Last month, we learned that Bookish had been sold to the e-book retailer Zola. It seems it was unable to compete with huge sites with Amazon, and struggled to draw in readers since its significantly delayed 2013 launch. 

Our sources tell us the publishing groups sold Bookish, which had reportedly received $20 million in funding, at a pretty serious loss.

So the debut of 250 Words seems strange, given that the last attempt at a books site was hardly a best-seller. Mediabistro reported yesterday that the publishing company has just launched 250 Words, a site that aims to become “a hub for intelligent business thinking, with a focus on books.”  Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Oyster Offers All-You-Can-Read Ebooks For Less Than $10 a Month

Now on iPad. (Photo: Oyster)

Last October, Oyster, a subscription-based ebooks startup, announced a $3 million seed investment from Founders Fund. Almost a year later, the company is finally opening the results up to the public, launching its service (on iPhones only, sadly) with more than 100,000 titles. $9.95 a month gets you all you can read.

Readers should get ready to gorge themselves–but don’t delete your Kindle app just yet, either. Read More