PaidContent has a piece looking at two new startups that are trying to revolutionize the process of buying e-books.
One of these, Bilbary, was founded by former Waterstones managing director Tim Coates, and aims to help publishers sell e-books directly to readers. It has almost 350,000 non-agency publisher e-books, and plans to add about 100,000 more from agency publishers soon. It will eventually offer advanced features like e-book rental, browsing, and bookseller- and librarian-curated “shop windows.”
The other, Jellybooks, was founded by former txtr director of content acquisition Andrew Rhomberg. It is focused on book discovery rather than sales. The homepage displays thirty book covers, trying to simulate the type of book discovery by cover you would get if you browsed through a bookstore. Users can click on those covers to read a DRM-free 10% sample, which they can then share with friends. If they want to buy the books, Jellybooks directs them on to purchase them elsewhere (though it plans to implement half-priced group buying deals in the future).
Both of these startups appear to have some user interface issues to work through, but for all of that they do seem to be based on sound ideas. And who knows how the company that will eventually dethrone Amazon will get its start?