I haven’t bought a DVD in years. I rent or buy movies and TV shows from Amazon or Netflix and stream them through my Roku player or computer. I haven’t bought much music in the past two years, either, because I pay a monthly fee to Spotify to allow me to listen to whatever I want, whenever I want, on my phone or computer, without commercials.
The one thing I had held onto until recently was my book collection. Beyond that, I’d pretty much accepted that I won’t technically “own” much of the media I consume for at least the next few years, and probably for the rest of my life if the current trend continues and progresses.
But then I moved to a small apartment and had to make the transition to a Kindle. I like it much more than I thought I would, but I also don’t feel much like I tangibly own the books I purchase and read on it. But, ultimately, the convenience and excitement of being able to have virtually any book you want to read in your hands with a click and a few seconds’ wait won out. (Though I still have a habit of wandering around in bookstores, jotting down the titles I would like to read on my Kindle. I also like to work in bookstores, because my mom is convinced that is where I will meet my future wife. And she’s usually not wrong about these things.)
Now, I can access books through Oyster, a new app where you can read as many books as you want for $9.95 a month. Currently, Oyster offers about 100,000 books, a number I assume will grow exponentially in the coming months, especially if it becomes as popular as I believe it will.
You can visit oysterbooks.com to request an invitation to use the app as they roll it out to the general public.
When I purchase a book, I always feel obligated to finish it, no matter how terrible it is. With Oyster, I suppose that would no longer be the case. I think that would be sort of liberating.
Now we just have to wait for Jonathan Franzen to weigh in on how Oyster will destroy literature forever.