E-reading platform Blloon launched in the UK today (22nd October), with titles from publishers such as Allen & Unwin, Faber and Profile.
The German company founded by Txtr boss Thomas Leliveld plans to target young people who “read up to 12 books a year”.
As The Bookseller reported last month, the company launched in beta format before Frankfurt Book Fair and expects to launch in the UK first before moving onto Germany and the US. Blloon offers customers the opportunity to read e-books for free, top up pages by inviting others to join or subscribing for a monthly fee.
For its launch, the platform is featuring titles from publishers Allen & Unwin, Diversion Books, Faber Factory, Guardian Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Lonely Planet, Open Road Media, Profile, RosettaBooks and Workman Publishing, as well as titles from Ingram Content Group's CoreSource Plus solution offered through Lightning Source Inc. Blloon says it is also “working closely with Gardners to collect titles from a range of publishers.”
The Blloon app can be downloaded form the iTunes store for free and the company said it has designed “a beautiful app with gamification at its core” which it believes will engage young people.
Anyone can read 1,000 pages for free and can continue reading by sharing and recommending books – or by inviting others to join the service. “Research shows that 85% of young people would be likely to recommend books if rewarded for it – this gamification gets young people talking about books and Blloon, while getting something in return,” the company said.
Further pages can also be bought as top-ups or provided monthly by upgrading to a premium membership at a cost of £3.99 for 500 pages.
Leliveld said: “When we began this project having best-selling titles on our app was our number one priority. We knew that by offering good titles, in a way that was accessible to young people, we would have an attractive proposition – both for the readers craving a new way to read e-books but also for publishers who want to attract this new generation. We have marketing plans in place to reach out to people but we feel it will be the strength of the material that will keep them coming back.”
He added: “We aren’t offering an expensive ‘unlimited’ service simply because that isn’t the demographic we are targeting. And people can only read so much. We’re welcoming young people, the majority of whom currently read up to 12 books a year.”
Gardners’ Ali Balaban said he was “delighted to support this innovative initiative” and Marcus Woodburn, vice president of digital products for Ingram Content Group, said the company was “pleased to provide Blloon with a broad selection of content from a wide range of publishers, so they can give their app users just what they want to read."
E-books subscription service Kindle Unlimited launched in the UK last month and Russian subscription service Bookmate launched its English language arm at Frankfurt Book Fair earlier this month, with titles from HarperCollins.
US company Scribd also offers a subscription service in the UK.
Danish subscription service Mofibo is poised to enter the UK after appointing Nathan Hull as chief business development director.