While some remain pledged to the printed word, many readers have transitioned to iPads and Kindles. For bookworms with a serious appetite for electronic reading, there's a new kind of rental service to satisfy your need for new narratives: Oyster (free to download, $10-per-month membership), an iOS and Android app with a 30-day free trial for unlimited reading.
Oyster, which features a brand-new design for Android, offers a truly beautiful reading experience, but is it enough to persuade ebook owners to begin renting titles for a monthly fee?
New Android App
The new Android app mimics the iPhone version, with a few added bonuses. The reader has been subtly redesigned with a responsive layout and color palette. A brand-new theme, Wythe, is a high-contrast format with old-school news text typeface.
Reading on both Android and iOS is largely the same. Oyster has six different themes to choose from: Standard, Nomad (sans serif, red accents), Herald (serif with gray background), Crosby (classic serif with tan background), Midnight (white text on black), and the new theme Wythe. The size of the text is fully adjustable, and that same settings panel provides a shortcut to your phone's brightness settings. Oyster stores up to 10 books locally on the device for offline access.
A "Read privately" option prevents Oyster from publishing the title you're reading in your profile or friends' activity stream. Oyster also acts as a social network and hosts profile pages for each user that list what they want to read and what they have read. Books that the user has rated with four or five stars are listed under their Favorites.
According to Oyster, the Library has over 500,000 titles. Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library has over 350,000, but readers must have both a Kindle and a Prime account ($99/year).
In the Library, there are sci-fi classics like Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and newer titles like The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow. The most popular titles on Oyster include Life of Pi, Water for Elephants, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Oyster doesn't have many recent bestsellers I searched for, including any of Malcolm Gladwell's books, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, or Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
Readers are essentially borrowing titles from a public library they have to pay for, minus the inconvenience of due dates. Would you relinquish your book ownership to read an unlimited amount of books for $10 per month? Will Oyster disrupt book publishing, like Netflix did with TVs and movies?
Source: Facebook user Oyster