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Playster: A New Way to Play

A review of Playster, a new digital entertainment service for books that also offers movies, music, and games. Plus: enter to win a three-month book subscription!

Playster: A New Way to Play

When I first heard about Playster, I thought OF COURSE an all-in-one digital subscription service makes so much sense. Like, who among us doesn't have a zillion accounts to keep track of? And instead of using separate services for books and movies and music and games, wouldn't it be nice if you could get all your different entertainment fixes from the same place? Well, that's what the people behind Playster thought, too!

Here's the scoop on Playster

Playster is an all-inclusive digital entertainment service – that means music, movies, books and games under one subscription.

Those of you who really love entertainment know that different moods and situations call for different things, whether it's a movie, a book or one of your favorite albums. So as well as giving you a huge amount of choice, Playster is about making sure it's all together in one place – so you're always just a few clicks away from what you want in that moment, whether at home or on the move.

A massive library coupled with a powerful search feature means you can discover new things to fall in love with, without having to spend hours searching. And because we're always adding new titles, you'll never run out of ideas.

Playster is fit for today, and ready for tomorrow.

I recently had the opportunity to try out the beta version of Playster -- focusing on YA, obvs. Read on to find out what I thought!

Overview

Playster's different media types (books, movies, music, and games) each cost US $8.95/month, or a discounted US $22.50/month when they're all bundled together. That means a book subscription generally costs less than buying 1 regular-priced ebook per month or a competing audiobook-only subscription -- and that's for both Playster's ebook and audiobook collections.

Plus, there are no holds or lending periods to contend with; a subscription provides unlimited access to that media type's titles. Playster is also available in most countries, with minor variations in content from country to country. 

Selection

Speaking of content, Playster's PR coordinator let me know that there's a wait of about 6 months to a year to acquire new releases from publishers, but audiobooks are obtained much sooner than that -- some even on the book's release date. With this in mind, I browsed through Playster's growing YA collection.

As expected, the book selection favours backlist titles. But I was pleasantly surprised to come across former faves among modern must-reads -- esp. ones that aren't available through my public library anymore (Francine Pascal's Fearless series, HOLLA!). 

I also found a bunch of those recent audiobooks, with the newest in my small sample being no more than a few weeks old when I accessed Playster's catalogue. Pretty impressive, considering that their audiobooks were only launched last month!

Software

With Playster being such a new company, its software is still in the beta testing phase, so most of the concerns I had should be obsolete once the beta phase is over. (Although as someone who always thought being a product tester would be fun, it was v. cool that my feedback was passed along to the developers!)

Playster users can log in through the site or the app (available on Android, with the iOS version currently being reviewed). Both are easy and intuitive to use, with titles accessible offline through the app. Improvements to the search and browsing functions are forthcoming, and future features include syncing the website library with the app library, and accessing audiobooks in the app. 

The main setback for me is really just a matter of preference -- or, more precisely, a matter of hardware. You see, my current ereader is one of those electronic paper, simple, non app-compatible devices, and my phone's battery life is way too abysmal for reading during my commute. (So, basically, I just need better electronics.) Not a deal breaker, but definitely an influence on how and when I'd use a service like this. 

Verdict

Playster offers unlimited access to its ebooks and audiobooks under the same subscription for an affordable price. For readers who aren't in a rush to keep up with new releases, this could be a good complement to or substitute for public library digital content. For interested audiobook listeners and iOS users, I'd consider waiting for the next app update to get full use out of the subscription.

As Playster continues to expand its catalogue and improve its features, it's positioning itself as a player (heh) to watch in the entertainment streaming game. The breadth of its ambition is definitely there (remember: they have movies, music, and games, too), and now it just has to keep fine-tuning its service to live up to its potential. 

Wanna test out Playster yourself? Start a free 30-day trial for their all-media package!

Playster is also providing a three-month subscription to their book service for one lucky FYA reader! To enter, simply leave a comment with a released book or audiobook that you'd like to find in Playster's catalogue. A winner will be randomly chosen on Thursday, November 19th. (Open internationally; some country restrictions apply.) (contest closed)

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free trial and compensation for this post from Playster.

Mandy Wan's photo About the Author: Residing in Edmonton, AB, Mandy unabashedly loves YA lit, frozen desserts, and terrible puns.