Oyster e-book subscription service just got interesting

Parents, take note: the "Netflix of books" has added a generous selection of children's titles, including dozens from Disney Publishing.

Oyster's growing library of all-you-can-eat e-books now includes Disney titles and others for kids.
Oyster's growing library of all-you-can-eat e-books now includes Disney titles and others for kids. Oyster

If you're the parent of a young reader, you know that kids can chew through books faster than a dog chews through tennis shoes. (I'm speaking figuratively, of course -- unless your kids are teething.)

That's awesome, though indulging this wonderful love of reading can get expensive. Too bad there's no "Netflix for e-books," no way to pay a small monthly fee for all the children's books your children can read.

There is now. Oyster, a startup e-book subscription service, just announced a new children's section, one that's stocked with hundreds of kid-friendly titles -- including books from Disney Publishing.

In case you haven't heard of it, Oyster employs a Netflix-style subscription model. For $9.95 per month, customers get unlimited access to the service's growing library of e-books, which now numbers over 100,000 and includes titles from HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Perseus, and other big-name publishers. (To learn more, read Daniel Terdiman's story on how Oyster won over the publishing industry.)

With the addition of Disney, that library now includes some very familiar properties: Mickey Mouse, Phineas and Ferb, Wreck-It Ralph, and Disney Fairies, to name a few. It's worth noting, though, that these aren't picture books, but instead mostly novelizations, and are therefore geared to older young readers.

Even so, the Kindle editions of many of these books sell for around $4. So for less than the price of three such books per month, you get a boatload of them, along with 100,000-plus other titles. The newly added Children's section also includes the "Series of Unfortunate Events" series, the "Warriors" and "Seekers" series, and award-winners like "Sounder" and "The Giver."

Now for the bad news: Ffor the moment, Oyster's reader apps are iOS-only. And the company's FAQ answer on this hasn't changed in months: "We don't have any announced plans for other platforms at the moment, but are committed to expanding to other devices as soon as we can in the future."

Even so, do you think Oyster offers a good deal for voracious readers, especially those in grade school? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

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