UK Start-Up Boxette Wants to Put E-Books on Bookshelves

Bricks-and-mortar bookstores may soon have another way of getting into the e-book game.

Boxette, a new start-up based near Manchester, UK, loads e-books onto USB drives and sells them in boxes shaped to look like books on shelves. Think DVDs but books instead of discs.

Each Boxette comes with the USB drive with a Kindle, EPUB and PDF format of the e-book and a custom 24-page booklet about the life of the author of the e-book.

The first book to be sold by Boxette is the Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection for £19.99 ($31.50). Of course, the e-book version of all Dickens titles can easily be found for free on major booksellers like Kindle.

The books are currently only available online through and but the company hopes to soon be sold in retailers such as Waterstones, WHSmith and independent book shops in the UK.

The company, a brand of UK-based This Written World, an e-book production firm, was founded in January 2012 and is funded in part by the UK government and by its founder, Neil Porteous.

When it launches in September, Zola, a new bookseller, aims to give independent bookstores a way to sell e-books that replaces the Google Books program that is being phased out in January.

Author Solutions, which was recently acquired by Penguin, has a program called BookStub that allows self-published authors to sell vouchers for e-book downloads — another way that e-books are being physically sold.

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