What Macmillan’s Acquisition of Pronoun Means

What Macmillan's Acquisition of Pronoun MeansPronoun has an interesting history. It was incorporated seven years ago, in 2009, under the name “Vook,” a portmanteau of the words “video” and “book.” The fledgling company was started not long after the launch of the iPhone (2007), and Apple’s app market (2008) created excited speculation among publishing and technology pundits that enhanced books had bright prospects and that the digital future of publishing wasn’t staid ebooks displayed on e-ink screens, like Amazon’s Kindle, but rather books as apps for smartphones full of interactivity and multimedia capabilities, read on crisp, high resolution retina screens from Apple.

Marketing guru Seth Godin was one of Vook’s early customers, as were the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Vook’s mission was to publish digital books that combine text, video and links to the Internet and social media into singular applications available both online and as mobile applications. That is also a pretty good definition of what an “enhanced ebook” is or is supposed to be.

It didn’t work out that way. How wrong the pundits were. Readers embraced ebooks in significant numbers (now a quarter to one third of the market in English-speaking countries is comprised of ebooks—less in the rest of the world), but enhanced ebooks and books as apps never took off on a large scale.

Much more.


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