Oyster Brings Its Netflix For Books To Android

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New York-based startup Oyster just released its reading app for Android devices — the app works on both phones and tablets, such as the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire.

As a reminder, Oyster is an unlimited subscription service for ebooks. For $9.95 a month, you get access to more than 500,000 books on your mobile devices. It’s a sort of Netflix for ebooks when it comes to the subscription model, but the company also insists on its curation feature — using Oyster should feel like going to a book club. When it launched back in September 2013, the company only had around 100,000 titles.

“When designing for Android you have to take numerous screen sizes into account (over 4,000 to be exact) so building a responsive typographic system is critical,” co-founder and CPO Willem Van Lancker told me in an email. “To take on this challenge, we redesigned our reader from the ground up — including a reworking of typography, the introduction of a new color system, and improvements to text sizes, margins, and more.”

On Android, you’ll also be able to use the volume buttons of your device to turn the page. Finally, you will now see how long it will take on average to finish a book.

Among major book publishers, Oyster has deals in place with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — the three other major publishers have yet to be convinced by the platform.

“We now work with 6 of the 10 largest book publishers in the U.S., and half of those have come in the past five months,” co-founder and CEO Eric Stromberg told me in an email. “So we’ve definitely seen a strong trend of major book publishers embracing the model, and expect to bring on a number of other major publishers throughout 2014.”

The startup actually has publisher-friendly deals. One of Oyster’s partner publishers, Smashwords, told its authors how Oyster actually structures its content deals. If a subscriber reads more than 10 percent of a book, the publisher gets 60 percent of the book’s retail list price.

Van Lancker also hinted at future product updates for Oyster. In addition to expanding human curation, the app should come to other platforms in the near future. “With apps now available on iPhone and Android, we’re working to expand to more new platforms as well,” he said.

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