Version 2.0 of this Polish app for capturing book quotes, a smart self-funded side-hustle, launches this week.
Postepic is a free iOS app that helps book lovers capture their favourite quotes from the books they read, and discover new reads by browsing quotes from other users or searching over three thousand quotes in the curated library.
It's like a literary Pinterest for book nerds, with various design options for users to personalise their quotes and extensive tagging functionality allowing for easy organisation and search for quotes by author, book title or genre. These tags can also be used to build ‘collections,’ or quotes categorized by a theme, such as 'Read Like Mark Zuckerberg' or 'Book of the Month'.
PostEpic is the brainchild of university friends from Warsaw, who are developing and self-financing the app as a side project.
C.e.o. ('chief everything officer') Łukasz Konofalski is also a product manager at monsterpolska.pl, the Polish division of global recruitment firm monster.com. C.m.o. ('chief mayhem officer') Maciej Dulski doubles up as c.e.o. of French e-commerce company zlotewyprzedaze.pl. And c.c.o. ('chief crayons officer') Maciej Napierała is the founder of ThirdRail Marketing Consulting, a marketing and graphic design agency based in Dubai.
"None of us has a background in programming wizardry so we had to find someone who could code it for us," Konofalski explains. "The fact that we had full-time jobs back then did not make it any easier. But when we did, we invested our own savings in a blink of an eye and managed the development in our spare time as a side project.
What's the gap in the market?
The friends were inspired by their own experience of reading while commuting. "You know the way, headphones on, paperback in your hand," Konofalski says. "Now and then you came across a passage that blows your mind so you scramble for a pen. You fail, so you reach for your phone and take a snapshot – the outcome is a chaotic library of photos looking exactly alike. So whenever you want to come back to it or share it with your friends, you wish there was another way...
"Although there are many places on the internet where people share quotes and sayings, it is difficult to find one focused purely on passages from books, which have author and title provided and are presented in a nice, graphical way."
The team also believe that Postepic could provide publishers with a valuable new platform for book launch campaigns and online promotion.
Success so far?
Postepic officially launched on Product Hunt in June 2016. "We were overwhelmed by a number of users who registered and emails coming in ever since," Konofalski reports. "The feedback we received from readers, authors and publishers was very positive, supporting us in our adventure. But what is important we have also received many hints how to improve our app and what features would be desired by users – both by book lovers and authors."
The new, upgraded version of the app hit the App Store yesterday, with a focus on additional functionalities that allow users to take more control over the way their captured quotes look, such as an OCR (text recognition) engine that turns images taken into editable text, more fonts and backgrounds.
"[The new features] all changed our project of a simple book quote sharing app into something which we believe can become a favourite place for users also to discuss all book related topics, discover new reads, find book pre-launch campaigns and nice deals," Konofalski says. "We also would like to closely work with authors and publishers on a platform that will help promote their work and readership in general. We can tell our trip is just the beginning of a long journey."
Understandably, the biggest challenge the team face with this self-financed side-hustle is in juggling money and time.
"The biggest challenge for us was to decide on which features to launch and where to allocate our time," Konofalski sighs. "Our ultimate vision of Postepic and the way it will work makes us all excited, but since we continue to develop it as a side project funded with our own savings, the pace is little slower than we would like it to be. For example, we decided to cut down on our social media communications, as we were facing the choice – to be active on the Internet or go back to the lab and work on version 2.0. We chose the latter, and once the app is launched, this will hopefully change."
The team want to establish Postepic as the app of choice for capturing and sharing quotes from books - by building the largest database of book quotes ever assembled. They also aim to build a community of book lovers around the core fuctionality, such as allowing users to form book clubs, sharing quotes as they read the same book.
But they have their eye on authors and publishers, as well as readers. "We would love to get book authors involved as well and give them a new place where they could promote their new books and come closer to their readers," Konofalski says. "Wr also want to give publishers an opportunity to learn more about the bookworms' interests and help them promote interesting new books by floating excerpts from them to the community."
Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?
"Smartphones are here to stay and will become even more involved in our lives. Print books are also not going anywhere. In our opinion, we should not only carefully watch book sales stats and print vs e-books comparisons, but think more on innovation that would combine those two worlds together. We want to create an environment which will encourage more readers to pick up a paperback, because online tools like book quote sharing apps, book swap websites and book club apps will help improve their reading experience overall."