Vook stops publishing content – is there a market for enhanced ebooks?

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Just got an email from Vook about their future:

… we’re ceasing to publish content and moving instead to extend our digital publishing platform, VookMaker, as far and wide as possible. It’s a one-stop cloud based tool that lets you create great looking digital books, distribute them to the marketplaces and track their sales.

Their content creation tool is in beta so there isn’t any info about it on their website.

I guess that there wasn’t much of a market for enhanced ebooks through the iBooks platform to make a go of it.  Goodness knows that they had enough variety and volume of enhanced books.

There has been quite a debate as to whether people really want enhanced ebooks, and I this is another datapoint in that discussion.

6 Comments on Vook stops publishing content – is there a market for enhanced ebooks?

  1. Are you kidding me? I love the VookTexts that I downloaded to the Nooks here at my high school. I wish VookMaker well and hope their product is something the education market can take advantage of.

    Speaking as a school librarian/educator, there is definitely a huge market for enhanced books, not only for textbooks, but also to deepen the experience for reluctant readers in all genres.

  2. Overall, their selection was terrible. I purchased the Guns N Roses book and thought it was great. I only got it because the price was slashed (har) to a buck or so.

  3. I think the basic problem is that “enhanced” ebooks have a limited niche. Yes, maybe textbooks and reference books would benefit but one has to question about the mass market need for them? Enhanced textbooks are probably a luxury cash strapped public school systems can’t afford (since they would need to make computers/tablets available to all their students to make it work). And as for reference works? Don’t most people just Google or go to wikipedia these days?

  4. Personally, I enjoy reading/viewing mass market enhanced books, although they are pretty expensive. For the education market, there are many enhanced e-textbooks with interactive graphics, videos, charts, etc. that are still competitively priced. And there are many schools that are providing e-readers, tablets and laptops for each student so that access to course content is available at home. While Wikipedia and Google are both excellent, their information requires evaluation – not so great for the authoritative research that educators require. So, no, not everyone can or should use them for reference.

  5. They should have provided this from the beginning.

  6. Maybe we are missing a point. Let me explain.

    Are enhanced books a small market ? Certainly, sir. And you have to adapt in order to survive. For instance, you must target both readers AND non-readers. And since content is quite expensive to produce, you have to save money.

    Now, Vook “found” millions of dollars (http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Digital-Publisher-Vook-Closes-525-Million-Financing-1381673.htm).
    And six month ago, they started to release textvooks. Now, their sales volumes were pretty impressive, weren’t they ?
    And don’t forget they released textbooks too. As far as I can remember, those books were just “enhanced” with pictures.

    Problem are :
    1) Nobody knows how they have spent all the millions.
    2) They didn’t hire authors for textvooks, they signed a deal with Charles River Editors.
    3) They released enhanced books as apps and EPUB e-books. Book-Apps are über-expensive to make, something like $25,000 – $45,000 per book according to European Publishers which released books as apps (apps were outsourced, should be much-lower if apps are made in-house). In other words, it may be really hard to make any dollar with book-apps… unless you are Disney.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think Vook means the failure of a small market. I… sort of… believe it means the failure of their business-model (and management).

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