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Oyster is Shutting Down, Key Employees Hired by Google

September 22, 2015 - Written By Mike Carey

Oyster is a subscription based service which many have called the Netflix of books.  For $9.95 a month the subscriber had access to 1 million books from around the world including best sellers and new releases.  Today, after 3 years since they were founded, Oyster announced they were shutting their service down for good.  Oyster made some big changes and developments to reading books on your phone or tablet in those three years.  They were able to sign deals with some pretty big publishing companies but most importantly was their product design Lumin.  Lumin changes the color of the screen as the day gets darker, finally changing over to a black background so it is easier on your eyes to read at night.

The service will be gradually shutting down over the next few months and subscribers will hear first about what is next for Oyster and its team of highly talented people who have such a strong passion for books.  Little is known about their motive currently but rumors are that the CEO Eric Stromberg, and co-founders Andrew Brown and Willem Van Lancker will all be joining Google.  We presume they will be part of the Google Books team and hopefully users of Oyster will see this model being taken over by Mountain View.

Google is not calling this a full blown takeover of the company but it seems it will be paying something to the Oyster investors who have a $17 Million investment into the company.  Whatever Google is paying for you can be sure they will put to good use.  They are looking to compete with Amazon who last year started a subscription based service for e-books.  The Oyster team will be bringing over their business model along with their Lumin technology.

This is not the first time Google has taken this business model and bought part of a company and not done a full on takeover.  Most recently they did this with Homejoy, a startup for professional home services, and relaunched it under the Google name after hiring 20 Homejoy employees.  So, now we wait on official word from Google and Oyster about how this service will be integrated into Google Books.