Netflix for Books: Oyster Review & Comparison

I’m a reader. Always have been, always will be. Every vacation I used to go on consisted of 1/2 a suitcase of clothes, 1/2 a suitcase of books until the most marvelous invention ever came along, the Kindle.

Yes, Kindle books are less expensive than their print counterparts. Yes, there are some moderately decent free books occasionally available. Why isn’t there a Netflix for books, like, a really good one? Well, I read about Oyster in last month’s Oprah magazine (which, I absolutely abhor because all of the clothing she selects is only affordable for the 1%, but adore Martha Beck’s column so call it a wash).

How did it measure up to my (incredibly high) expectations? Meh. There weren’t many books available by my favorite authors, aka the chic lit awesomeness that I use to decompress in the evenings or when I can’t get back to sleep in the early AM.

I took a list of the current New York Times Fiction Bestsellers, and not one of the top ten were available. Ok, I’ll give ’em that. I consider hardcover books on par with movies that are still in the theater, and Netflix doesn’t give those to you either.

Let’s take a look at the best seller list for 2013:
1. Gone Girl
2. Fifty Shades of Grey
3. Inferno
4. And the Mountains Echoed
5. The Forgotten
6. The Racketeer
7. Hopeless
8. Safe Haven
9. The Storyteller
10. The Goldfinch

Annnnndddd….not one of them was available on Oyster, even though on their site they claim they “generally secure rights to distribute a title a few months after its initial release.”

Oyster does a great job, though of recommending books based upon unique genres such as:
Geniuses & Madmen
Villains We Love to Hate
DIY Projects
Famous Weirdos
Talking to Animals

My conclusion? Not worth it if you like new books. Head to the library or purchase one book a month that you love vs. having access to 100,000 that might not be what you are looking for. If you enjoy digging into obscure titles and have the time to test out random books, go for it!

They do offer a free 1 month trial to everyone. Details are you have to give your credit card information, though, so make sure to put a cancel reminder on your calendar!

Here is a comparison of a few different book lending services, via

Have you tried Oyster or a similar app for reading books? How did it compare?