The Elusive “Netflix of eBooks”

Travis Alber (ReadSocial), Christian Damke (Skoobe), Justo Hidalgo (24Symbols), Liza Daly (Safari Books Online)
Session
Location: Broadway Ballroom North
Presentation: external link
Average rating: ***..
(3.25, 8 ratings)

Every six months or so a story breaks in the publishing media about the launch of a “Netflix of Books.” Shorthand for subscription, on-demand, digital books, it’s a concept that appears again and again in the media, but has been slow to gain traction. Why is this area of publishing not growing more quickly, and what companies are working in this area? Do subscription services need to be publisher-specific or genre-specific? Most importantly, what direction is subscription moving in the next two years?

  • What are the biggest hurdles for this model (rights management, content deals, size of market)?
  • Are you publisher owned or genre specific?
  • How has your pricing changed since launch, and do you offer different tiers?
  • What are the royalty challanges?
  • Is this a 1-startup takes all, or can multiple networks exist?
  • Is DRM still prominent in your discussions, and how has that affected your product release (HTML vs APP, for instance)?
  • Where is the market going over the next year?
Photo of Travis Alber

Travis Alber

ReadSocial

Travis is a consultant, startup owner and product manager interested in projects that combine technology and publishing, her focus is on reading systems, social features and user experience. She is the co-founder of two NYC startups: ReadSocial, which allows publishers to embed reading groups inside books, crossing content silos between different formats and systems (more at http://www.ReadSocial.net); and BookGlutton, an early web-based reader and catalog with in-book chat and shared notes. She led the work to reinvent NetGalley’s product in 2012, and has worked with Audible, Electric Literature, Flat World Knowledge, Fortnight Journal and Bibliocommons. Prior to founding BookGlutton, Travis was a creative director at JLOOP and an art production manager at Cisco Systems. She has over 10 years experience, and has worked in web design, advertising, online training and education. Her client history includes: The 911 Museum, Sprint, Playstation, Wells Fargo, Macys, Midway Games and Dodge. In addition, Travis has been recognized by Drunken Boat, The Webby Awards, The Flash Forward Film Festival, and the Electronic Literature Organization. She has a Masters Degree in Interactive Multimedia.

Photo of Christian Damke

Christian Damke

Skoobe

Social Entrepreneur with interest in media, mobile, publishing, user experience and product development with broad experience in business development, investment banking, strategy consulting and international development work.

Specialties
Social Entrepreneurship, media, mobile, integrated marketing communication, project management, international development, capacity building, entrepreneurship.

Photo of Justo Hidalgo

Justo Hidalgo

24Symbols

Justo Hidalgo is co-founder of 24symbols, a platform that offers readers the ability to read and share digital books in the cloud, working in any reading device with internet connection and that gives users access to an international and multi-publisher’s catalogue. He is also a part-time product strategy and innovation consultant at Denodo, and teaches product strategy and innovation at the master’s degree in industrial design of Nebrija University, and technology for managers at the Nebrija Business School in Madrid, Spain. Justo is member of the Internet Society and mentor at the Startupbootcamp accelerator.

Photo of Liza Daly

Liza Daly

Safari Books Online

Liza Daly is the Vice-President of Engineering at Safari Books Online and an experienced software engineer in digital publishing. In 2012 her companies Threepress Consulting and Ibis Reader were acquired by Safari. Liza is a strong advocate for experimentation, agile
development, and innovation in publishing.

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