Ahead of hardware refresh, Oyster brings subscription e-book service to iPad

in iPad edited January 2014
Subscription e-book service Oyster has released an an updated version of its popular reading and lending application with a new design and iPad support, less than a week before Apple's expected iPad hardware refresh.

Oyster subscription e-book service updated for iPad

The update addresses what many early users of the service pointed to as its most glaring omission at launch, lack of native support for Apple's iPad and iPad mini. The 4-inch Retina displays found on Apple's smaller iOS devices are less than ideal for novel-length reading at home, where the iPad models' larger screens are a more natural fit.

Apple is widely expected to unveil a thinner, lighter edition of its 9.7-inch iPad and a Retina display-equipped iPad mini at a special event next week, both improvements that make the devices even more well suited for reading.

Oyster's iPad version packs a new, darker user interface which the company said is designed to enhance night-time use and a full-screen browsing mode for the company's lending library. The app also takes advantage of the iPad's larger display to enable browsing and reading in landscape mode.

Synchronization between a user's devices is included and functions similarly to that of Apple's iBooks --?both a user's library and their reading activity will be mirrored between devices. It is unclear whether the synchronization happens via iCloud or a proprietary mechanism, though in either case it remains transparent from a user's perspective.

Oyster subscription e-book service updated for iPad

Alongside the iPad app, New York-based Oyster, which many describe as "Netflix for e-books," officially opened its $9.99 per month subscription model to the public on Wednesday. Oyster had been in private beta following its launch on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch in September.

Version 1.1, which the company dubs "Blue Point" after a popular variety of New York oysters, is available for download on the App Store today and comes with a free 30-day trial of the service.


  • Reply 1 of 5

    Subscription services for eBooks? It almost seems funny that I haven't seen this done yet. I don't personally read books fast enough for this to ever be worth it, but I'd be buying stock this very moment if it were publicly traded.

  • Reply 2 of 5
    applguyapplguy Posts: 126member
    What the heck does this have to do with the upcoming iPad release? Is every app going to get this coverage because a new iPad is coming out? Adding this only detracts the reader away from the articles purpose to educate them about the app and updates to the app.
  • Reply 3 of 5

    There is already an app called Oyster for the iPad - its an app that shows actual pictures of hotels and resorts (as opposed to pictures by the hotels or by the guests), along with general information and cursory reviews.  Now if I recommend this app to a friend, I'll have to tell them, "No, it's not the Oyster app about ebooks, keep looking."  

  • Reply 4 of 5
    I buy books. Different strokes for different folks. Amazon provides absurd rental pricing for technical books. Don't know the success levels but they've had it for over a year.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    Oyster offers a free 30-day tryout period, which is good. But a lot of people are like me. We don't sign up for them because we don't want the hassle of quitting if all doesn't go well. Also, it takes a lot more than 30 days to change reading habits.

    Oyster should take advantage of a recent trend among novelists. They write a series of novels, each complete it itself, and offer the first for free to draw readers into their larger tale and its characters. Oyster should offer an Oyster-Free service with those books, knowing that some will like that first free book so much they sign up to read the rest.

    That said, I've got three of my latest books headed for them, although I'm still wondering what their payment plan for authors is.

    --Michael W. Perry, My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer
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