Oyster Books Unlimited: The good, the bad & the ugly

Oyster Books Unlimited: The good, the bad & the ugly

Have you heard of Oyster Books? It’s an online ebook subscription service. For $9.95/month you are given access to Oyster’s “unlimited library” which has 1,000’s of ebooks. You can also purchase ebooks directly from the site. This review will focus solely on the subscription service, Oyster Unlimited.

The Good

  • Unlimited Downloads – There is no limit to the number of titles you can read each month
  • No Due Dates – You are free to keep titles for as long as you want
  • No Hold Lines – You do not have to wait for popular books, all unlimited titles are always available
  • Extensive Library – The library is rather extensive and unlike Kindle Unlimited, has a lot of well known and popular books
  • You Don’t Need Internet Access to Read – You download the book to your phone and therefore don’t need access to the internet while reading. You will however need access to download the book

The Bad

  • Site / App Layout – There isn’t a way to view all the books available. If you know what you’re looking for you can search for a specific title, but if you are just browsing through a particular genre, there is no way to see all available books. The site only shows you recommended or “popular” titles. I find this to be a HUGE negative. When I contacted customer service about it, I was told that because their library is so extensive, they cannot possibly show all titles. That doesn’t make much sense to me, because ALL ebook/book stores allow you to browse through their entire collections.
  • No Kindle Paperwhite / Ereader Access – There is no way to get books from oyster unlimited onto your kindle or ereader. If you have a kindle fire, you can download an app, but if you’ve got a classic kindle, nook, kindle paperwhite or another ereader, you’re out of luck. This again, is a huge drawback for me. I am forced to read all the oyster books on my laptop or phone. The phone app is very smooth and user friendly, but at the end of the day I’m still reading on a phone.

They’ve done the best they could with the app. You can adjust the font style and size, switch to night mode and turn on “lumin”, which from what I gather is supposed to make the font easier to read based on the time of day. You can also bookmark and add notes.

12Is it worth it?
I think oyster unlimited is worth it if you don’t have a designated ereader or if you travel a lot. As silly as it sounds, I don’t always carry my kindle paper white around with me. Sometimes it doesn’t fit into my purse and sometimes it weighs me down too much if I’m walking around all day. But I’ve always got my phone on me. I wouldn’t use oyster/my iphone to do any heavy reading, but it’s alright for light reading.

If you’re interested in trying out Oyster Unlimited, here is $15 to get you started. That’s a month & a half of free use.


  • i love the idea of oyster, but i only have a super basic kindle so it’s a no go. my mother in law has it and i have read some books on her fancy kindle using it, but i prefer my basic kindle. the no browsing would be a completely deal breaker for me, what are they thinking?! i want to browse!

    • I know! I didn’t have any interest in getting a kindle fire – I just wanted something basic for reading. I debated back and forth between the regular and the paper white, but the backlight has been great for me because I read in bed a lot. But anyways, with the browsing… I was sure I was missing something. I couldn’t believe they used their library size as an excuse… I feel like they’d get so much more business if people could see all the great titles they have!