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Oyster Is Totally the Netflix of Books, Don't Listen to the Haters

Despite articles like the Wall Street Journal's Why the Public Library Beats Amazon and IBT's Why Oyster Isn't 'The Netflix of Books', I am here to say that I am TOTALLY FOND OF OYSTER even though I had doubts. Serious doubts. Like why should I pay $10 a month when I have a billion books on my shelf I haven't read and can get eBooks from the library? GOOD QUESTION, ME.

Regarding the WSJ article (which focuses on Amazon, but why would you use them -- they are AMAZON), when it says "libraries, at least for now, have one killer feature that the others don't: e-books you actually want to read" my response is...what?




I am a serial skimmer of my library's eBook availability list, and keep in mind this is the Chicago Public Library, not something ridiculous like Skokie (SKOKIE BURN), and anything in the realm of 'oh right, I've been wanting to read that' is unavailable and will not BE available for weeks-to-months because other people have holds. You get the book for three weeks as an eBook, and then poof, gone. Go to the back of the line again if you weren't done and then try to remember what was happening months later when you get it again.


And regarding Oyster's selection versus "e-books you actually want to read," I mean...maybe my tastes are weird (say nothing), but here're some books on Oyster that were pretty easy to find. Due to Oyster's kind of funky set-up, I'm sure there are untapped mines of authors I haven't found on there yet (they have 500,000 books), but here:


Excellent things that are on Oyster


Rosemary's Baby, Ira Levin
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston 

so much Agatha Christie
The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls
Transgender 101, Nicholas Teich
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
Catch-22, Joseph Heller

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Emma Donoghue
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie
Native Son, Richard Wright

Philippa Gregory if you're into that sort of thing
The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
so much Diana Wynne Jones
so much Gail Carson Levine

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew, Daniel Pool
Shakespeare, Bill Bryson
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
all the C.S. Lewis
Wildwood, Colin Meloy
Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher
How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
The Cider House Rules, John Irving
The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield


As is the case with Netflix, most of the fun is finding new things and adding them to your Reading List. And they stay there! To be opened whensoever you choose. I would've taken away points up until a couple weeks ago, because they had no web reader, which meant I could only read the books on my phone, which just...does not happen often, but then they ADDED a web reader. So now Oyster gets all the points.

I'm not sure why with the advent of eReaders and subscription book services, people think The Library or Published Books are going to disappear. I've had two eReaders, and I read on my computer and my phone, and I still buy print books. People don't just entirely switch over to one format. DVDs are basically done, but you never pulled a DVD out of your bag on the subway and saw someone else's pleased expression because they liked that movie too and BRIEFLY FELT KINSHIP WITH HUMANITY. If someone across from me on the El is reading, I am delighted and try to see what book it is (I'm also ashamed because there is a 90% chance I am playing Candy Crush on my phone). If someone across from me is blasting music -- EVEN IF IT IS MUSIC I OTHERWISE LIKE -- I am completely irritated with that person.

yes, you.

So. You should probs check out Oyster. Where can you do that? BOOM right here. You are welcome, Internet. You are welcome.

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