eBook Reader That Delights

I bought the premium version of the Oyster iPad app few months ago, and I must say that I’m in love with it. It’s a Netflix for books, and I like that model. For $10 per month, I’ve access to a catalog of 500,000+ books, book recommendations based on my reading history as well as curated lists.

Recently, the app has started to offer flexible pricing options – $42.99 for 3 mo, $84.99 for 6 mo. and $159.99 for 1 year. One can even purchase a subscription for a customized number of months.









What I like about Oyster:  

  1. Design – Simple, elegant and customizable design of Oyster beats Kindle, iBooks and Scribd.
  2. Search and Browse – Search and browse experience makes it easy to use on mobile devices.
  3. Recommendations in form of Top Books in a Category, Award-Winners, Recommendations for you and New Releases. Being able to view recommendations and instantly add the book to the reading list, unlike Goodreads, is powerful.
  4. Mobile Experience on iPad is really slick! The app is better suited for tablets than smartphones.
  5. Reading Experience is very utility-driven, hence making it easier to get back to reading often.
    • Customizable themes and fonts.
    • Ability to highlight sections and view those as notes is convenient.
    • Reading progress (x% complete) indicator is motivating.
    • Estimated Number of Hours attribute in book description helps me refine and prioritize my reading list.
    • Allows logins across multiple devices.
    • Ability to download books for offline reading.

Features that would make it more powerful:

  1. Ability to view time taken to read a book so I can benchmark my reading speed against average speed.
  2. Ability to follow leaders and hence their recommended reading list. For example, ’14 Books that Mark Zuckerberg’s Thinks Everyone Should Read’
  3. Ability to view books read and recommended by my friends, and share my list with them. Maybe an integration with Goodreads.
  4. Ability to view analytics such as ‘Number of users reading this book right now.’

Update 2015: Since Oyster’s demise, I have moved to hard copy books and audiobooks. Kindle Unlimited and Scribd are good alternatives but I miss Oyster’s user experience. Both offer free trials. Scribd offers 3 books and 1 audiobook for 8.99/month. Whereas, Kindle offers unlimited reading and listening for $9.99/mo. It also has a collection of 3M books and audiobooks.