|Headquarters||New York City, New York, United States|
|Alexa rank||12,656 (January 2014[update])|
|Launched||6 September 2013|
Oyster is an e-books subscription service based in New York City, referred to as the "Netflix for e-books". Of popular note is the design of the browsing and reading experience. Oyster currently supports the Apple iPhone and iPad and as of October 2013, its library has over 100,000 titles with HarperCollins being the largest partner publisher. An Oyster subscription currently starts with a 30-day free trial.
Users can develop a personal reading list and follow others' reading activity through Oyster's social functionalities. The service also provides book recommendations based on previously read books and "featured sets" curated by editorial staff. As of January, 2014, notes and highlights are now available.
An invitation to the service was previously required to join, however as of October 16, 2013 the invitation requirement has been lifted.
The company was founded in 2012 by Eric Stromberg, Andrew Brown, and Willem Van Lancker, and is headquartered in New York City, NY. In October 2012, Oyster received $3 million in seed funding led by Founders Fund, a San Francisco based venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel and Ken Howery. On January 14, 2014, Oyster announced a $14 million funding round, led by Highland Capital Partners.
Oyster launched on September 5, 2013, to laudatory reviews of the design and reading experience, opening paid access via invitations available on a first-come, first-served basis. Mixed reactions surrounded the company's decision to launch with support for the iPhone. Some commentators mentioned the higher, thus convenient mobility of the iPhone, while others compared the reading experience on the smartphone to that on a tablet. Other criticisms included limited content and lack of multiplatform support.
The first million pages were read in ten days post-launch, with the second million read in six days and the third in three days.
On October 16, 2013, more than a month after the initial iPhone offering, Oyster launched support for the iPad. The iPad version of the app used a darker theme, "complementing night-time browsing and creating a more relaxed user experience.". The company also removed invitations as a requirement to join, and offered a 30-day free trial to all new users. Along with an iOS app redesign, the website additionally allowed for browsing of curated book lists.
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