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.
The Future of the Ebook
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.”
Apples and Androids
Oyster is on a roll lately. They’ve been signing up new publishers, launching new apps, getting good reviews — they’ve even gotten people to rightfully start calling them the “Netflix for Books.”
To add to all of that, as of this morning Oyster is launching their desktop app, making their books available wherever there’s a working browser tab. Though Read More
Art Meets Tech
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.
The Future of the Ebook
Digitizing books and information has big benefits, like worldwide access to data and learning tools, the democratization of publishing and saving some trees along the way. There also seem to be no shortage of projects that want to reverse that trend.
Jesse England, an artist whose work is critical of trends in digital media, Read More
Oyster is fast on its way to claiming the grandiose title of “The Netflix of Books,” contrary to what the haters said. Today, Oyster is moving into the next phase of its plan for subscription book service domination, announcing that the app will finally be available to Android users.
Opening up Oyster to Read More
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.
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.
The Future of the Ebook
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.”
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.