book club

Oyster Cofounders Explain What Happens When You Combine Books and Big Data

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It’s easy to forget that Oyster, dubbed “The Netflix for Books” by every writer who’s covered them, has only really been around for a year. In that time, they’ve signed on two of the Big Five publishers, built a library of 500,000 books and basically made us forget that Scribd has been trying to contend for exactly the same space.

And at the heart of Oyster’s business is their recommendation engine — a recipe for bringing readers in and hooking them on book after book. On one end of that engine is their editorial offerings — curated collections that go beyond genre and into moods or themes like “The Science of Everyday Life.” This morning, they added more “book list” features, essentially allowing everyone from users to major authors to make their own literary playlists and share them with followers and friends. Read More

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‘I Created Emojis’ Apparently Not a Good Pickup Line

(Photo: MetroWeekly)

In recent years emojis have transitioned from an SMS-based shorthand primarily used in Japan to text decoration employed by everyone from iPhone-obsessed tweens to twenty-somethings still on their parents’ family plan. Emojis officially appeared on the iPhone 3Gs back in 2009, and have since experienced numerous updates, with the newest version finally incorporating a pizza icon into its visual repertoire. Read More

The Future of the Ebook

Founders Fund Bets on Oyster, a Subscription-Based eBook Business

The cofounders. (Photo: Courtesy Oyster)

An under-the-radar local startup named Oyster has raised a $3 million seed round, GigaOm reports, led by Founders Fund. Other backers include SV Angel, Founder Collective, Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital, Chris Dixon, Sam Altman and others. But despite the foodie-friendly name, the company has other designs–namely, to feed you books to read on your iPhone.

As cofounder Eric Stromberg explained to Betabeat via email, “Simply put, we are building the best way to read books on your phone, and we think we accomplish that through the subscription model,” he added. Read More