By Edward Nawotka, Editor-in-chief
“It’s important to understand we are creating a radically new ebook distribution platform. It’s a new way of thinking. Our philosophy is ‘radical simplicity’: we deliver all books, to all people, all the time, you can download online and offline, and keep them on the device forever, it’s raining books,” says Yoav Lorch, CEO of the Tel Aviv-based ebook platform Total BooX. With Total BooX, a reader downloads a book for free and only pays for what they read.
Lorch will be speaking on the panel “Research to Reality: Discussion on How Millennials Consume Content,” as part of Publishing Perspectives’ upcoming Designing Books for Millennials Conference on Thursday, March 26. He’ll be accompanied by Randy Petway (EVP, Strategy and Business Development, Publishing Technology), Irene Gallo, (Associate Publisher, Tor.com), and Emily Morrow (Asst. Marketing Manager, Scholastic).
When it comes to catering to Millennials, Lorch believes that eliminating the confusing purchasing decisions and the friction in the traditional ebook purchasing process is key. “The idea that there is a ritual to reading — to finding a quiet corner, indulging in the book, putting away all the things running around in our mind — that is such a rarity today. You’re constantly being interrupted. If you watch how young people behave, you see that if one sends an SMS and they don’t get an answer in 3 minutes, they send it again, then if they don’t get an answer in 30 seconds, they call out of fear to ask ‘what’s wrong?’ The ability to maintain the unwinding experience of reading, the basic experience of narrative fiction and nonfiction, it doesn’t happen…”
Today, says Lorch, people are used to consuming content in small pieces. “Some people say if you don’t complete the books then you are not a serious person. But this is basically fine. This is a natural way of reading content that people are reading anyway. Young people are smart, they know a lot and are curious. By the fact that you are offering them a plethora of sensations and information for you to pick and choose, it is actually a step forward for them.”
Total BooX currently offers a catalog of 35-40,000 titles, from publishers including Sourcebooks, Other Press, Workman, Gibbs Smith, F&W, O’Reilly, Packt (Indian computer book publisher), Berlitz Guides, Chicago Review Press, and ECW, among others. Books can be freely shared, and users can organize libraries of their own titles to create reading “playlists” that can also be shared or “followed,” as per social media norms.
“Today, everything is shared,” says Lorch. “The whole world today is based on the idea of what books are worthwhile, then they send you to a physical bookstore or an Amazonian one. The idea with us is that sending a book to your friend is as easy as sending a photo.”
Total BooX, which is focused in part on servicing the American library market, has picked up clients in a dozen states — including the entirety of the Kansas library system. Some 25-30,000 people have downloaded the app.
“Our idea is simple,” says Lorch. “‘Here is a world of books. Roam for free. Enjoy.’ It brings people closer to books. Most people don’t understand often that this is not just another business model, this is actually something turning the book world on its head. Print to digital was a change of format, but what we’re doing goes from purchase-centric to reading-centric…this is the big revolution.”
RELATED: You can watch an interview with Yoav Lorch from the Frankfurt Book Fair