Jellybooks wins £25,000 technology prize

Jellybooks wins £25,000 technology prize

London based publishing start-up Jellybooks has won £25,000 from the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board to develop user tracking tools for e-books. The prize was awarded this week at IC Tomorrow’s latest digital innovation contest, which this time around was focused on the collection and use of data.

Jellybooks was one of three developers shortlisted in the publishing-related challenge. The challenge, posed by Penguin Random House, was to enable publishers to gain more direct information and analytics about how their e-book content is being consumed digitally. The other two shortlisted companies were web-based e-reader ValoBox, and Whisk, a cookery-based application.

Jellybooks’ Project Crowberry solution proposed embedding custom-built Javascript into e-book files. Readers would then be incentivised to click the links in order for the publisher to track reader behaviour. The idea was to emulate the success of Google Analytics itself, which tracks how browsers interact with websites through a small Javascript file that is included in every webpage. The initial pilot would be focused on advance copies with readers encouraged to interact with the book in return for receiving the free edition. The initiative would then be rolled out more widely.

Jellybooks will work with the International Digital Publishers Forum (IDPF), the organisation that oversees the ePub standard, to embed the Javascript. Bill McCoy, executive director of  IDPF, said: "The ePub 3 format is the next evolution of the global ebook standard. ePub 3 is based on HTML5 and offers many exciting new capabilities for authors, publishers and retailers, including the ability to integrate advanced analytics solutions."
 
Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg said: "We are delighted that the judges chose to take our proposal forward. This award will enable us to develop a solution with the potential to make the relationship between author, publisher and reader a much more open, collaborative and interesting one. We look forward to creating a way for the ebook of the future to read you, the reader, and work closely with authors to help them better engage with readers."