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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Netflix-ify Your Reading Library

Oyster logo courtesy of
If Netflix offers a monthly subscription service for TV shows and movies, and Spotify offers the same for music, so it's only natural that a monthly subscription service for book exists, too. In fact, there are three subscription book services vying for your attention.

On Friday, Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited which allows readers unlimited access to over 600,000 e-books and audiobooks for $9.99 per month. Oyster, founded in September 2013, offers a nearly identical service: For $9.95 a month, you will have unlimited access to over 500,000 books, and Scribd's subscription service, released only a month later, offers a 400,000 title collection for $8.99 a month.

Will Oyster and Scribd survive the unveiling of the Kindle Unlimited?

Libraries for each service include a great mix of titles from multiple genres – literary and young adult fiction, to mysteries and thrillers, to sports books, political science, history, business, children’s books and more.

Authors: you can have your publisher request that your books are offered through Oyster. Scribd also offers numerous services for writers.  Kindle Unlimited's web site does not currently provide information for authors, though it's likely they make deals directly with publishers.

All three services offers apps for both Android and iOS users, and Kindle owners can continue to use their Kindles. The Oyster app was rated as one of the best apps for 2013, and Scribd has also received social media awards. For fun, check out the clever infographic Oyster created to break down the stats of readers using Android vs. iOS systems.

As a book lover, and an avid reader of e-books and audiobooks, these services excite me! The books I read are typically $9.99 for Kindle books, and closer to $15 for paperbacks. I could read a book a week (when I’m not reading textbooks for school). At that rate, I could easily save $30-$45 per month on reading material with either service.

As a teacher, the site further excites me because it can give students access to many books for much cheaper than they might normally pay. I wish these apps existed when I was an undergrad English major!
Oyster app courtesy of

Other than any shortcomings normally associated with e-book reading, I can only think of one potential downfall of this system: not having time to read at least $10 worth of books per month while in school or _____________(fill in any of your activities that eat away at your reading time).

But, to me, that just sounds like motivation to keep reading.

If you want to try Oyster, use this link. If you sign up using that link, you and I both get $15 reading credit. Otherwise, you can sign up through Oyster’s homepage and get a one-month free trial.

Go here for more about Scribd.

Use this link to check out Kindle Unlimited.

Written by Anne Greenawalt, writer and writing instructor


  1. Anne--This is a great offering. Right now, I'm mostly borrowing books from friends or the library. Usually, I only use my e-reader when I travel. However, when I get the chance, I'll have to sign up. I'm with you--most of the books I read are around $10, so if I read just a couple of books a month, it'll end up being less on an investment...

  2. Anne:
    I'm curious if you can usually get the bestsellers or new releases OR do you have to wait for them like you do with Netflix for example? So, like if there's a hot new YA series, when book 2 or 3 comes out, can you immediately get it?

    Just curious. This is definitely something to look into.


  3. Margo, that's a great question, and I don't yet know the answer. I am sure the availability of books varies from publisher to publisher. But I agree--it's worth looking into!


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