Children’s Ebook Subscription Service Epic! Signs HarperCollins

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Children’s ebook subscription start-up Epic! has signed on another big partner, adding 1,000 ebooks to its catalog, which is now around 4,000 titles.

HarperCollins joins Simon & Schuster as two big publishers that are working with Epic!. They are also the two publishers working with mass market ebook subscription services Oyster and Scribd.

HarperCollins is Epic!’s 25th publishing partner and perhaps one of its most important partners for what it means.

“For us, working with HarperCollins symbolizes a change in the marketplace wherein leading publishers recognize the value of a subscription model and recognize how well it works for the children’s space,” said Epic! co-founder Kevin Donahue, adding, “HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster are showing a lot of leadership in that it’s an important model to explore with consumers.”

HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster in particular seem to be embracing the subscription ebook model, with the latter doing deals with both Oyster and Scribd this week. There are rumors floating around the industry that ebook subscription services are in talks with all the other major publishers.

Donahue claims that Epic! has the largest catalog among children’s vertical ebook subscription services and that competitor Kindle Free Time doesn’t have any big-five publisher ebooks. Competitors Storia, from Scholastic, does.

For $9.99 a month, kids can read as much as they’d like. Unlike Oyster and Scribd, where publishers are paid for each time a user reads a title, Epic! works as a revenue share, with publishers getting a piece of the overall monthly revenue based on how many of their books were read versus other publishers.

For now, Epic! is only on iPad but Donahue says that will change soon. The company has “tens of thousands” of readers currently*, according to Donahue. It has eight employees and has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from a handful of A-list Silicon Valley investors, including Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Menlo Ventures.

* Correction: Epic! has tens of thousands of “readers,” not “subscribers” as the article originally stated. Some of the readers read for free. 

 

[Press Release]

EPIC! SECURES EBOOK SUBSCRIPTION DEAL WITH HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

First Children’s eBook Subscription Service to Team with Publishing Giant

Epic!, the first all-you-can-read eBook subscription service designed for kids 12 and under, today announced an agreement with HarperCollins Publishers, one of the world’s leading publishers. Launched in early 2014, Epic! features a treasure trove of high-quality children’s eBooks, hand-picked by well-known kids’ book experts, with personalized recommendations and fun, game-like rewards to encourage reading. HarperCollins is the 25th publisher to join Epic! and is providing over 1,000 eBooks to an ever-growing library of more than 4,000 titles on the service.

“We know that children tend to read more if they can choose their own books. We’re proud to offer our titles on Epic! which provides an innovative mobile reading experience for kids and fosters a love of reading in a whole new way,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer, HarperCollins.

Epic! takes a responsible and curated approach to growing its library, focusing only on quality titles that are appropriate for kids 12 and under. At over 4,000 titles now available, its library is the largest of any eBook subscription service designed for children.

Among the 1,000+ books being provided by HarperCollins are popular series such as Amelia Bedelia, Biscuit, The Chronicles of Narnia and award-winning titles from well-known authors such as Beverly Cleary, Neil Gaiman, Kevin Henkes, Katherine Paterson and Lemony Snicket. Beloved children’s classics such as The Secret Garden, Caps for Sale, Freight Train, and Frog and Toad Are Friends are also being made available.

“We’re thrilled to be working with HarperCollins to bring so many wonderful titles to our fast-growing audience of young readers,” said Kevin Donahue, Co-Founder of Epic!. “The subscription model is particularly well-suited to children’s content and leaders like HarperCollins can see the opportunity.”
The Epic! app is available through iTunes for the iPad2 and higher.

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About Epic!
Epic! opens the doors to a new world of reading for kids 12 and under by providing an unlimited selection of eBooks that can be instantly discovered, read and shared with friends. Personalized for each individual reader, Epic! is the only place to access thousands of high quality, curated children’s books without the need to purchase or download them one by one. Beautifully designed for mobile and featuring fun, game-like elements, Epic! provides kids with a personal library they can take anywhere. In a world of unlimited screen time, Epic! is a smart alternative to games and videos. The company, based in Palo Alto, CA, is founded by Suren Markosian, serial entrepreneur and founder of social gaming leader CrowdStar, and Kevin Donahue, former YouTube, Google and Disney executive, with the support of top tier investors and veterans of the children’s publishing industry. To learn more about Epic!, visit www.getepic.com, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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