Discovery Start-up Jellybooks Launches Tools for Authors, Wins New Funding From UK Government

Big news this week for Jellybooks, the little UK-based ebook discovery start-up. Two releases below. The first is about a new suite of author tools the company is launching. The second is about new funding the company has won to create a “Google Analytics for ebooks” that will track how readers engage with digital books.

[Press Release]

Jellybooks launches Book Discovery Tools for Authors at The London Book Fair
Free to use tools turn any webpage or social media profile into a virtual bookshelf
Available to authors and small publishers via invitation only beta

Jellybooks is launching a set of Book Discovery Tools at the London Book Fair that will help authors and small publishers make better use of social media as a platform for the promotion and discovery of their books.

Jellybooks Tools for Authors will equip authors and publishers with the tools they need to encourage readers to discover, sample, buy, read and share books in an age of proliferating social media and diminishing shelf-space. As the rise of self-publishing and publishers’ limited resources require authors to take a more pro-active role in promoting their books, Jellybooks Tools for Authors are ideally placed to help writers take control of their own destiny by connecting directly with readers.

Jellybooks Tools for Authors takes the form of a free cloud platform, called the Jellyfactory that enables authors or their publishers to distribute samples of their eBooks free of the DRM restrictions that would be applied by other ‘walled garden’ platforms. These samples can be shared with the authors’ friends and followers on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, emailed to contacts and embedded on web pages.

What makes Tools for Authors’ social media capabilities distinctive and attractive to users is the markup Jellybooks’ developers have integrated into the platform. For example, a Jellybooks eBook sample shared via Twitter appears in followers’ timelines as a Twitter Card that displays the book jacket and synopsis below each tweet. They also allow readers to download an eBook sample directly from Pinterest via an enhanced Pin feature.

Tools for Authors’ book widget features allows authors, reviewers and bloggers to embed book samples on their homepage, blog or websites free of the DRM and sharing restrictions that large book retailers typically apply to content. This innovation turns any web page or blog into a bookshelf, substantially increasing the opportunity of readers to discover, consume and share content.

All Jellybooks samples contain at least 10% of the book by word count that readers get a good feel for the book they’re sampling. The samples can be read online or offline on Kindles, Apple and Android devices, or by any other app or device able to render ePub files.

The Jellybooks platform also helps authors to measure the effectiveness of their activity and their visibility by providing sophisticated but easy to understand online analytics tools informing them how and when their samples were downloaded and on which networks they were shared. As such these will provide invaluable insights into how authors’ books are discovered, and improve audience outreach online and on social media.

Andrew Rhomberg, founder of Jellybooks said: “From recent hybrid and self-publishing sensations such as Hugh Howey to established experimentalists like Neil Gaiman, it’s clear that to be a successful author in the digital age you need to be an involved author. This is well-known to the self-published community, which has led this trend to date, but now more traditional publishers expect their authors to promote their own books online and on social media. This leaves a clear need for easy to use tools that are designed for authors and not tied to one ereading ecosystem, which is what we’ve created with Jellybooks Tools for Authors.”

Jellybooks Tools for Authors is a free service currently available by invitation only. Authors can obtain a VIP invitation from any of the authors using the early access program, such as Tina Folsom, Libby Hellman and M. L. Roble. VIP invites are also available from Porter Anderson of Porter Anderson Media, Justine Solomons of “Byte the Book” and from the founders Andrew Rhomberg and Andy Roberts during Author HQ networking events at the London Book Fair. Publishers with fewer than 100 titles also qualify for free invites for themselves and their authors.

The service was developed in part with funding from the UK’s innovation agency, Technology Strategy Board. Jellybooks was a winner in the Technology Strategy Board’s “Convergence in a Digital Landscape – Cross-Platform Analytics Metrics and Feedback Tools” competition.

 

[Press Release]

Jellybooks wins Reader Analytics challenge with a ‘Google Analytics’ tool for eBooks

London start-up Jellybooks has been awarded funding from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, to develop a ‘Google Analytics’ style tool that will track how readers engage with eBooks, after winning a challenge set by the Technology Strategy Board http://ictomorrow.innovateuk.org/web/digital-innovation-contest-2014-cross-sector-exploration/overview.

Jellybooks’ ‘Project Crowberry’ prevailed against stiff competition (TSB received 130 entries for the contest across 9 categories). Its proposal for a solution will benefit authors and publishers by collecting data on eBook readers’ reading styles and behavior that can be used to inform their future writing and publishing decisions. The £25,000 funding award from the Technology Strategy Board will be used to develop this solution and pilot it with a publishing partner.

Project Crowberry will create a Google Analytics style tool for ebooks by developing a custom-built Javascript solution that can be included in the ebook files that readers buy and download. This will track reader behaviors such as how fast they read a book, where they read it cover-to-cover or in multiple sessions, at what time they read and more. In this way it will emulate the success of Google Analytics itself, which tracks how browsers interact with websites through a small Javascript file that is included in every webpage.

Jellybooks’ solution will only collect data from readers who choose to participate in the program. It will offer incentives for in a number of ways for readers to sign up including the opportunity to earn loyalty points, advance previews of new books and special contact with favourite authors. All data gathered by the solution will be anonymous, and collected with the purpose of helping authors and publishers to better understand and engage with their audience.

The initial pilot will see Jellybooks’ software rolled out with Advance Reader Copies and complimentary copies, where uploading of reading data is a quid-pro-quo for obtaining a free ebook. It will be rolled out more widely after this initial phase has been successfully completed.

Bill McCoy, Executive Director of the International Digital Publishers Forum (IDPF), the organisation that oversees the ePub standard used by all major vendors such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo and others commented “The ePub 3 format is the next evolution of the global ebook standard. ePub 3 is based on HTML5 and offers many exciting new capabilities for authors, publishers and retailers, including the ability to integrate advanced analytics solutions.”

Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg concluded: “We are delighted that the judges chose to take our proposal forward. This award will enable us to develop a solution with the potential to make the relationship between author, publisher and reader a much more open, collaborative and interesting one. We look forward to creating a way for the ebook of the future to read you, the reader, and work closely with authors to help them better engage with readers.”

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