Today’s Publishing Perspectives is all about Jellybooks, a new service for “Discovering, sharing and group buying ebooks.” Online book discovery was the focal point of the last couple weeks of my “Intro to Literary Publishing” class, so this comes at a perfect time . . .
Anyway, here’s a bit of Amanda DeMarco’s article:
Set to launch in early spring, the Jellybooks experience corrects some common mistakes in online book browsing, says Rhomberg: “We have spent many months trying to understand why physical bookshops still play such an important role in discovery.” For example, people really do use book covers in deciding what to read, so you won’t see thumbnail reductions. Interestingly (but very right when you think about it), cost isn’t much of a factor in choosing a book: “We found that price information plays very, very little role when users try to decide what makes for a great read. Clearly it matters when they have decided to buy a book at which point they will shop around (i.e. buy online and not in a physical store), but during the discovery process, price information is not a factor, so lets get rid of it.”
Once a user finds a book that looks interesting, they can download the first 10% to a personal cloud library account to read later on a device of their choice. These samples will be available two to six weeks before the title appears in stores. There’s no DRM, and they can be shared with a link without restriction. [. . .]
Once you’ve started browsing, downloading, and sharing, Jellybooks will use the information it has gathered to offer you special 50-percent off “Sweet Deals” on books that fit well with your choices so far. Not every Jellybooks user will be notified about every sale. “Books are quite personal and you don’t want people to get the wrong perception that they’re getting irrelevant stuff or too much stuff. So your reading and sharing behavior allows us to determine if you would be interested in getting the deal.”
Similar to Groupon, the deal only happens if enough people sign on to purchase, which means sharing is important for attaining the required number. If it’s reached within the 12-hour span, the book is downloaded (Sweet Deals are currently e-books only) and your credit card is charged. One important difference from Groupon, Rhomberg notes, is that “the discount has to be earned by the group as a whole. With Groupon it often just automatically goes over. Here we don’t want you to feel it’s too automatic and so you’re lazy…In its nuances it’s constructed to be a little more social and a little bit more about recommendations.”
Sounds like an interesting addition to the constantly growing list of discovery sites . . . I signed up to receive notification when this goes live and will definitely post about it once it has and I’ve had a chance to play with it.
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .
I recently listened to Three Percent Podcast #99, which had guest speaker Julia Berner-Tobin from Feminist Press. In addition to the usual amusement of finally hearing both sides of the podcast (normally I just hear parts of Chad’s side. . .
Let’s not deceive ourselves, man is nothing very special. In fact, there are so many of us that our governments don’t know what to do with us at all. Six billion humans on the planet and only six or seven. . .
“Rambling Jack—what’s that?”
“A novel. Novella, I guess.”
“Yeah, it looks short. What is it, a hundred pages?”
“Sorta. It’s a duel language book, so really, only about… 50 pages total.”
“And this—what. . .
Many authors are compared to Roberto Bolaño. However, very few authors have the privilege of having a Roberto Bolaño quote on the cover of their work; and at that, one which states, “Good readers will find something that can be. . .
In Josep Maria de Sagarra’s Private Life, a man harangues his friend about literature while walking through Barcelona at night:
When a novel states a fact that ties into another fact and another and another, as the chain goes on. . .
César Aira dishes up an imaginative parable on how identity shapes our sense of belonging with Dinner, his latest release in English. Aira’s narrator (who, appropriately, remains nameless) is a self-pitying, bitter man—in his late fifties, living again with. . .