Monday, April 6, 2015

The Netflix of Books

Online streaming services for movies and TV shows have become a cultural phenomenon. How many people do you know with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or HBO Go accounts? I use my family’s Netflix account, pay for Amazon Prime, and occasionally borrow my friend’s HBO Go login. Instant streaming has become the number one tool for procrastination, or better yet, laziness.

When I watch an episode of Friends or Breaking Bad on Netflix, I go through a series of emotions. First, it’s the relief: Now I can finally relax. Then, it’s the doubt: Should I really be watching TV right now? Finally, the guilt: I really should be doing homework, or finishing that project, or reading, or exercising.  Five episodes later, it’s too late. I’m hooked. There’s no going back.

But not all streaming has to be a guilty idle activity.

This is where Oyster Books comes in. For $9.95 a month (roughly the same cost of Netflix), Oyster allows unlimited streaming of its digital book collection anytime, anywhere. As if that’s not enough, Oyster just added the complete Harry Potter series to its collection.

I’m not championing digital e-book reading over print by any means. I actually do not own a Kindle, Tablet, Nook, or any other e-book device. I’m one of those people who has hundreds of books because I have to have the print copy. I still buy and read tangible, print copies of books. I prefer it. However, Oyster gives me the chance to decide if the print copy is worth it. I reread good books all the time, so Oyster gives me the opportunity to save a little money on the books I don’t like.

I don’t believe Oyster is the downfall of print books. I think Oyster can drive book sales. Opponents believe that $10 is too much for unlimited books every month because who can read that much to make up for that cost? My record is eight books in one month. My average is about two, and when I spend time watching Netflix, I finish about one book each month.

Since Oyster, my average number of books per month has increased. My guilt has decreased. And my intelligence has skyrocketed. Now, when I log onto my computer, I type Oyster into my web address bar instead of Netflix for the same sense of relaxation, minus the guilt of laziness.

Don’t hesitate or wait to get on board with Oyster.  Avoid the guilt of Netflix. As the Oyster website claims, it’s “beautifully digital reading for everyone.”

~Molly Spain, intern

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