Vook Puts E-Book Publishing Power in More Hands
Just one year after moving from San Francisco to New York, Vook is enhancing its cloud-based e-book publishing platform this week. Vook, which has made its name by enabling non-techie types to publish their work electronically, is now rolling out features such as an HTML5-based reader that will let many tablets and smartphones pull up titles published through the platform.
Matthew Cavnar, Vook’s vice president of business development, who demoed the new features at this month’s NY Tech Meetup, says it’s all part of the company’s strategy to further disrupt the publishing world. “It’s like a WordPress for e-books,” he says. “Anyone can quickly create an e-book, add video, audio, and publish it.”
Vook works with small to midsize publishers and authors such as Gary Vaynerchuk, but its platform is also used to publish individual titles from bigger guys such as HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin. The three-year-old company has thus far raised $7.75 million from backers that include Lerer Ventures, Floodgate, Baseline Ventures, Founder Collective, VantagePoint Capital Partners, and Ron Conway.
Cavnar believes Vook’s platform can also help authors who self-publish stand out among the growing number of digital titles. “An everyday author can [make] a publisher-quality e-book in twenty minutes through our tool,” he says.
The new features Vook has been developing include automated creation of landing pages that contain information about authors, sharing buttons for social media, and the ability to display preview versions of the e-books. Vook also plans to add a star-ratings system and a place for comments, so readers can discuss the e-books on the landing pages. These services, Cavnar says, are intended to help authors and publishers promote and sell their digital titles on their own. Vook takes a 15 percent cut from the royalties on sales made through the Web pages it provides. (Or publishers can pay $89 to have their works distributed through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks without Vook taking a cut of royalties.)
Up until last summer, Vook’s engineering staff operated on the West Coast while its … Next Page »