ENTRIES TAGGED "ValoBox"

ValoBox: TOC Startup Showcase Finalist

Book content should be more integrated with the web

We’re giving our readers a chance to get to know our TOC Startup Showcase Finalists a little bit better before the big showdown in NYC. We’re featuring the startups with a personality profile here on our website.

Our next profile is from Anna Lewis and Oli Brooks of ValoBox.

Read more…

Comment |

TOC 2013 Start-up Showcase semi-finalists announced

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.

Read more…

Comments: 2 |

Buy once, sync anywhere

It's time to get a grip on the fragmentation of digital books

This article by Oli Brooks is a preview to the the Buy once, sync anywhere session he’s part of at TOC NY 2013 in February.  Use the discount code below to register for the event and learn more about Oli’s vision for this exciting initiative.

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.

Read more…

Comments: 8 |

Wikipedia’s EPUB export feature

This DIY ebook construction tool could have much broader potential

The “best price” phase of TOC NY 2013 registration is about to end. Don’t wait or you’ll end up paying more than you would today. To save even more on your registration, sign up here and use the discount code JOE20 to get an additional 20% off the current price on the conference package of your choice.

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.

Comments: 3 |

Publishing’s “open” future

Today's closed models will give way to tomorrow's open platforms

If I had to summarize the future of publishing in just one word, I’d say “open.” We’re living in a very closed publishing world today. Retailers use tools like digital rights management (DRM) to lock content, and DRM also tends to lock customers into a platform. Content itself is still largely developed in a closed model, with authors writing on their word processor of choice and editors typically not seeing the content until it’s almost complete. Then we have all the platforms that are closed from one another; have you ever tried reading a mobi file from Amazon in an EPUB reader, for example?

Given these examples of our closed industry, why do I think the future will be different? It has to do with some of the early indicators I’m seeing through start-ups and other trends. My TOC colleagues and I are in the enviable position of getting to cross paths with some of the most forward-thinking people in our industry. We share many of these encounters via our website as well as at our in-person events. I’d like to share some of the more interesting ones that are currently on my radar, including a few featured at TOC Frankfurt last week.

Read more…

Comment |
ValoBox wants to reward content creators and consumers

ValoBox wants to reward content creators and consumers

ValoBox looks to combine access to content, analytics and conversion.

ValoBox, a publishing startup we covered earlier this year, has launched. In this interview, co-founder Oliver Brooks describes the platform, its development, and how its social retail system works.

Comment: 1 |