When it debuted nearly two years ago, Oyster was poised to bring monthly subscriber streaming — a la Netflix — to the literary set. But today the startup announced that it will be sunsetting its subscription service within the next several months.
In the blog post announcing the decision, the company focused particularly on its mobile device reading technology (including reading feature Lumin) and hardware:
As we continue on, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of ebooks and mobile reading. We believe more than ever that the phone will be the primary reading device globally over the next decade—enabling access to knowledge and stories for billions of people worldwide. Looking forward, we feel this is best seized by taking on new opportunities to fully realize our vision for ebooks.
We don't shill.
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Whether this means Oyster will be gone, its reading technology may not be. According to a report from Re/code, a portion of Oyster’s team (including CEO Eric Stromberg) has already joined the ranks of Google, in the Google Play Books division.
It seems that Google is sidestepping whether the move is an acquihire, but don’t be surprised if Oyster’s reading technology becomes integrated into Google Play Books sometime down the road.
Users will be able to continue using their accounts, which offer unlimited access to more than 1 million titles for $9.95 per month, or submit a refund request to the company.