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Consumer Trends

Addicted to Books

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In case you hadn’t noticed, the nation seems to have developed a subscription addiction; consumers are drawn to the idea of everything from beauty products to men’s socks to natural snack products arriving every month. The new kid on the block, Oyster, allows customers to read as many titles as they want on the mobile device of their choice for a flat monthly fee of $9.95.

Yes, libraries have done this kind of thing for free for as long as most can remember, but Oyster is one of the first to go digital. The company, which launched in September, makes 100,000 titles -- including bestsellers and new releases -- available to subscribers. The app was created by tech veterans Eric Stromberg, Andrew Brown and Willem Van Lancker in summer 2012, and the team sealed deals with publishing heavyweights like HarperCollins and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in record time.

Oyster users can search by title or genre; the app also offers recommendations for topics. Born and bred on mobile, Oyster has social features that let users follow what friends are reading and vice versa.