1. What is BookShout and what makes it unique?
BookShout is a unique type of ereader that allows for sharing and discoverability. In other words, the “social” tools are built into the ereader so that users can either actively or passively share the books with which they are most passionate, increasing unit sales and notoriety. Not only can readers share notes and thoughts to other BookShout users, but they can also share them out to Facebook and Twitter.
BookShout is available on iOS, Android, and the web. We work directly with publishers to make sure all of their books are available and for sale through BooksShout. We are signing new publishers up all the time and most see us a creative new sales channel that gives them options and data not available with other retailers.
2. You announced your new Kindle and Nook book importer feature at TOC Frankfurt earlier this week (see short video below and press release here). How does a consumer use it and what benefit does it offer?
Its really quite simple, which is one reason we think it is so powerful. When a user downloads the iOS or Android mobile app, they are asked if they want to import their current Kindle or Nook books. If they do, they simply enter their username and password, and within a few seconds, their previous purchases are imported to BookShout. We only import books from publishers in which we have a relationship, so if a book isn’t available for import at the current time, we notify the user when it is.
The benefit from a readers perspective is a universal bookshelf, in which all their books are easy to find, share, and read. Users don’t have to worry about where they bought the books–they can read them all in one place, which just makes sense. Users also get the added benefits of sharing notes, interacting with authors, seeing one another’s bookshelves, etc.
3. You spoke with quite a few members of the publishing industry before launching the importer feature. What has their feedback been?
So far the feedback has been great. Our goal is to work closely with the publishers so that we can provide meaningful data and analytics going forward on book sales, trends and sharing. If users can aggregate all their books on BookShout, the opportunity to arm publishers with new, measurable data is greatly increased. In a sense, it allows publishers and authors to have a direct relationship to the end user, which allows for more powerful and viral campaigns around books.
Jason Illian is the founder and CEO of BookShout.