By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Hull: ‘Direct Digital Relationships With Customers’In something of a departure, Norway’s Beat Technology is announcing today (April 13) that it is partnering with the partners with Sweden’s online book retailer Adlibris, with Beat creating its first app for book retailers.
As Publishing Perspectives know, Beat’s forté has been its creation of bespoke platforms for digital products—usually in the audiobook space. The company, with Nathan Hull as its chief strategy officer, has made quick strides in rolling out such sites, including:
- The Netherlands’ service Fluister (Dutch for Whisper)
- The AudioTribe platform in Romania (formerly called Echo)
- A partnership with Germany’s Skoobe.de
- JukeBooks in Greece
- A Norwegian service called Fabel (say “FAH-bul”) backed by Gyldendal and Aschehoug
Two more services—including Ghana’s AkooBooks’ program, which our readers were aware of during Frankfurter Buchmesse—are in the works, Hull says, but not yet live. Hull and AkooBooks’ Sharon Baiden joined us at Frankfurt in a conversation on audio in the Publishing Perspectives Forum with Bookwire’s Jens Klingelhöfer.
The other forthcoming service is “Volume,” which Beat is developing for Poland’s Sonia Draga Publishing Group, based in Katowice. That’s one we announced just last month from Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
All told, Beat’s active installations’ users now total some 300,000 paying subscribers.
If you’re not familiar with Adlibris, its Stockholm-based operations—essentially an online bookstore established in 1997—currently reports that it supplies more than 13,000 titles to consumers in Finland and Norway, as well as in its Swedish home market.
Luovio: ‘Switching Up Our Digital Reading Experience’
In what Hull refers to as an extension of Beat’s growing portfolio of publisher subscription apps, Adlibris customers on Monday—the eve of London Book Fair (April 17)—will have a new offer. Those who purchase their ebooks and audiobooks on the Adlibris retail site will be able to enjoy their reading and listening through the use of Beat’s newly developed user experience.
In a comment on this development, Adlibris’ chief sales officer, Sakari Luovio, is quoted, saying, “As the market-leading online bookstore in the Nordics, we are now investing in switching up our digital reading experience with a business model we believe in.
“In an age in which customers are overwhelmed by different subscription services, we focus on selling ebooks and audiobooks a la carte, so that our readers can find a particular book among more than a thousand titles.
“This new platform allows Adlibris customers to purchase their audiobooks and ebooks online before reading or listening to them. The audiobook listener, however, then benefits from all the features they would expect from an audiobook app including reviews, wish lists, dark mode, bookmarks, car mode, audio speed adaptation, and much more.”
Hull, in today’s media messaging, says, “This new vertical for our business sees everyone in the chain benefit. The customers get a first-class app experience and the retailer gains an absolute ongoing connection to the customer. It’s the perfect ecosystem.
“The last few years have proved hugely challenging to book retailers without a suitable digital offering. The Adlibris team has had the foresight to solve the problem with us and create an environment for their readers which sees them reinforce their brand, build direct digital relationships with their customers, and harness the data. We really believe this is a new blueprint for retailers the world over.
“With our experience of developing digital reading and listening experiences for leading book players on the European market, we’ve created an environment that we believe Adlibris’ customers will greatly appreciate. We look forward to a close collaboration with Adlibris and to continuing to develop the user experience going forward.”
Adlibris’ service includes customized lists, news, and book tips for the reader, and without the constraints of a subscription–which normally is a feature of many Beat builds for other clients. Hull is stressing, then, the departure from the subscription models that Adlibris is making. Indeed, a quality listening environment may be even more important to a non-subscription format in order to keep the a la carte consumer coming back.
More from Publishing Perspectives on audio and audiobooks in publishing is here, and more on digital publishing is here, and more on Beat Technology is here. More from the Swedish market is here, and more on the Norwegian market is here.