|Headquarters||New York City, New York, United States|
|Alexa rank||12,656 (January 2014[update])|
|Launched||6 September 2013|
Oyster is a streaming service for digital ebooks, available for Android, iOS, Nook HD and Kindle Fire devices. It is also available on any web browser on a desktop or laptop computer. Oyster holds over 1 million books in its library.
The company was founded in 2012 by Eric Stromberg, Andrew Brown, and Willem Van Lancker, and is headquartered in New York City. 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, opening paid access, at $9.95 a month, via invitations available on a first-come, first-served basis. Common early criticisms included limited content and lack of multi-platform support, but its reading experience and design were widely praised. Within ten days, users had read over a million pages.
On October 16, 2013, Oyster launched support for the iPad. 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.
In June 2014, the company expanded its services to Android and Kindle Fire devices, and in July 2014, the company launched a web reader application.
Oyster offers several different reading modes, access to over 1 million titles, and book recommendations from its editorial staff. Users can also take advantage of highlighting and notes features and share their activities with friends using the platform.
Oyster offers titles from over 1,600 publishers. Of the Big Five publishers, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan Publishers have titles available through Oyster, but a number of smaller presses have distributed their works to the service including Perseus and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Smashwords, a self-publishing platform, also distributes to Oyster and appears to be the primary publisher of works available on Oyster.
Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, told a panel at Digital Book World in 2014 that the publisher had not signed up over "unresolved questions about how to avoid devaluing books and cannibalizing sales." However, in May 2014, the publisher added their entire backlist at that point, consisting of about 14,000 titles, to the platform.
Some have been skeptical, though. The New Yorker's Ian Crouch wrote that the app "takes its name from a line in 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' ('the world’s mine oyster,' spoken, incidentally, by a thief)." 
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