Stories about Vook used to be all over the place—the company launched in 2009 as another e-publisher. It published classics, landed a deal with Anne Rice, listed 57 enhanced e-book titles in the iBookstore, launched a digital serial rights program, made it onto Kindle, got funded for $5.25 million, launched on Android, proposed rules for e-book and app pricing…but then in 2011, it stopped publishing content altogether in favor of shifting over to running a digital publishing platform for others. In 2014 it acquired Booklr and a few months later Coliloquy. then came the name change almost exactly a year ago. We haven’t heard a whole lot about it since then.
Now comes the acquisition by Macmillan. It’s interesting to ponder what this might mean, both for Pronoun and for Macmillan. Apparently the company will continue to exist for now as a Macmillan subsidiary, with its now-CEO becoming President and its Chief Product Officer becoming VP, Product for Macmillan. Macmillan COO Andrew Weber says that Pronoun’s e-publishing and analytics technology should be able to help Macmillan’s imprints, as well as independent authors.
At least one Macmillan subsidiary, Tor, has been quite progressive in terms of how it deals with digital media, going DRM-free four years ago and building an online community around its blog Tor.com. With its parent company adding a 7-year-old digital publishing startup to its portfolio, perhaps the rest of the company is looking at moving forward, too. Even if Macmillan eventually dismantles Pronoun, its technology should still live on. Macmillan had to have a reason in mind for buying the company, after all.