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Boosh app promises sharing and viral marketing

Mobile technology company Evanidus is hoping to open up the market for 'sharing' e-books with the launch of Boosh, a new app that aims to drive discoverability and sales by tapping into a reader's social network.

Boosh was unveiled to publishers today (7th March) at the Independent Publishers Guild Conference, and is in a beta trial period ahead of an expected roll-out this summer. The mobile-based technology acts as a 'reader', but then deletes the e-book once it is read, allowing it to be shared amongst that reader's friends. Once shared, the app also then invites friends of the original reader to buy the e-book.

The sharing of 'used' digital content is likely to become a growing part of the e-book marketplace. Amazon recently received a patent in the US for its used e-book marketplace, while ReDigi has been pioneering a way of selling 'used' digital music online, though is currently being sued by Capitol Records.

However, Evanidus said that under their model it was the publisher that sets the control over how many times a file can be shared for free. The company said the app would also aid discovery and introduce new customers to authors and series. It will also only offer a limited range of titles that were already being talked about online, or which publishers wanted to seed into social networks.

Steve Kennedy, chief executive of Evanidus, said: "Boosh is targeted at mainstream social media users not just current readers and allows friends to share their passion in an environment that is immediate and wholly appropriate to them and their lifestyle. It's like letting your friends try your favorite wine rather than just telling them where they can buy it."

Former HarperCollins and Waterstones executive David Roche, who joined the Evanidus board as a non-executive director in April and became chairman of the company in August, said the app would help publishers and authors push titles in the social web, adding that the smartphone market was relatively untapped by publishing. "We know that the market can stretch massively in an incremental way when a book or series explodes from nowhere owing to word of mouth that has now been augmented by viral exposure."