Oyster, anyone?

But!  I’ve been burned before, so I am also timid.  Here’s where my heart is dashing off too:

With Oyster, Keep 100,000 Books In Your Pocket For $10 A Month

Whether for movies, music, or magazines, the all-access model has proven it’s here to stay. Now, what Spotify has done for music and Netflix has done for movies, a startup called Oyster is trying to do for that most analog of relics: the book.

The basic premise of Oyster‘s invite-only iPhone app, which launches today, is simple: For a flat fee of $9.95 a month, members will gain access to Oyster’s catalog of more than 100,000 (and growing) books, which at launch includes titles from hundreds of publishers, including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and the large e-books distributor Smashwords.

Doesn’t it sound dreamy?  And, a little too good to be true?

I’m a Netflix subscriber.  I love being able to catch-up on various TV series (hello! how on earth did I miss Dr. Who for all those years!).  It’s cured us — more or less — of Redbox check outs and the subsequent late fees that I always accumulate.  I’m a huge proponent of local libraries and I wonder if this will impact them.

I am done with school and the reading stats definitely reflect that (more later on that subject.)  If the titles are good, I’m a super user for sure.  The upside is that I could get titles faster than the local library can provide them to me.

The downside?  Well, none that I can see.  The fee is reasonable.  I don’t mind not owning the books, no surprise given my intense library usage.

And that’s what scares me.  It sounds too good to be true.  But, then there’s this:  Over the summer, Stromberg pulled out Oyster during a long bus ride and found Lois Lowry’s The Giver, a book he loves but hasn’t read since he was young.  “It’s a book I perhaps otherwise wouldn’t have gone out and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to read The Giver because I enjoyed it when I was in middle school,'” he says. “And now I’m going to go read parts 2, 3, and 4.”

I love the Giver.  And I’ve read parts two and three.  I would totally love part 4.  How could I not?

I’m already something of a book slut.  My Goodreads list shows that I currently am reading 8 books; I know there’s a few titles missing.  My To-Be-Read list has 46 titles on it; I know there’s more than a few titles missing.  I don’t have a stack from the library sitting around because I spent the weekend reading all of them and the next batch was electronic.  The number of books on the shelves — physical and virtual — that I own and haven’t read is deplorable.

Having a subscription offering like Oyster is equal parts good and bad.  I’m a little too close to the addict that protest, “I can handle just one drink!” only to wake up the next morning covered in suspicious liquids and far away from home.

And then I notice the fine print:  Invite-only.

There is a God and I am saved.

Unless, of course, you have an invite you liked to share.

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