ENTRIES TAGGED "ValoBox"
Online voting is now open and ends soon
This year we’re having the publishing community help us determine the 10 finalists who will come to TOC in New York to show off their product/service. Starting today, an online voting site will be open to the public. Voters will have until Friday, January 11th to cast their vote and help us choose the 10 finalists who will be invited to NYC.
It's time to get a grip on the fragmentation of digital books
While building ValoBox we’ve been working with a number of publishers. We’ve been asked a number of times about the potential for publishers to integrate ValoBox more closely into their existing direct retail channels such as a ‘Read now’ button on their eCommerce site. This has been an intriguing element to look into, particularly as it goes to the heart of what we are really interested in: making the content within books more accessible. Our platform does it through enabling browser-based reading and micro-purchases, but it got us thinking of ways to solve the wider problem of paid content fragmentation.
This DIY ebook construction tool could have much broader potential
I recently watched a couple of episodes of The Men Who Built America on The History Channel. Although I learned a lot about John D. Rockefeller, for example, I wanted more. I thought about looking for a good ebook about Rockefeller but decided instead to head over to the Wikipedia.
Like most historical icons, Rockefeller’s Wikipedia page is fairly extensive. It offered more than I was able to read at that moment and there were other people in the series I wanted information on as well. That’s where the Wikipedia’s EPUB export feature came into play. If you haven’t heard about this it’s probably because it didn’t generate a lot of buzz when it launched a couple of months ago. I think it’s one of the most under-appreciated features of the Wikipedia and offers plenty of lessons for all content producers and distributors.
In a few very simple steps I was able to quickly and easily create my own EPUB file featuring bios of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Thomas A. Scott. You can download my custom ebook here. I copied it over to my Nook and have been reading pieces of it each evening as time permits.
It’s one thing for someone to go in and create their own custom Wikipedia ebooks but what I don’t see through this service is a way to share your creation with others. The Wikipedia should offer a site where users can discover and download other custom ebooks created by others who have similar interests. Think of it as a Wikipedia playlist.
When will the book publishing industry offer something like this? You could argue we already have it with a service like Valobox. Their pay-as-you-go model is terrific but (a) not many publishers have warmed up to it yet and (b) the content isn’t 100% freely available before you buy. With the Wikipedia model I can read as much as I want online before I ever bother splicing together a custom ebook. It’s still free to download, of course, but what if the Wikipedia introduced a modest fee for downloads (99 cents)? Or, what if they inserted ads in those downloads and monetized the content that way? Why couldn’t a traditional publisher do the same?
A platform where your content is totally free to access online and includes a self-service option to create your own customizable, portable version doesn’t seem like a viable model today. Then again, streaming music subscription models didn’t seem viable a few years ago but look at how popular they’re becoming.
Here’s a thought: B&N should create that Wikipedia playlist idea I mentioned earlier. They could offer all those custom ebooks, just like my Rockefeller/Carnegie/Scott one, to their customers. Creators could set a price for their ebooks but free is a better option. B&N uses the EPUB format so the output would flow nicely into the Nook ecosystem. It would also be a great way for B&N to get some lift from Wikipedia’s traffic, especially if a “send to B&N” button could be added to the EPUB creation process.