ActuaLitté : GoSpoken specialises in selling eBooks on mobile phones. What do you say to people who think mobile screens are too small to read on ?
Andy McNab : I can often see iPhone owners reading books on their device when I’m on the train. We want to offer the same service to customers who have chosen to trust other mobile phone brands such as Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC, Nokia, , Palm etc. on top of offering mobile reading on the iPhone device.
Nowadays no one leaves home without 3 things : Their keys (hopefully!), wallet and mobile phone. Mobile books allow our customers to read when they can’t take a book with them or don’t wish to carry one around. Our customers tell us that they read more and more often since they’ve discovered gospoken.com (on the bus, train, in queues) and the screen size on certain older phone models is a tiny compromise compared to the fantastic added value mobile reading brings them on a day to day basis. Beside, there are lots of fantastic large screen size phones coming out every quarter.
To be honest, if the book is good, I don’t care how I read it, I just want to read it!
ActuaLitté : Gospoken.com offers both eBooks and audio books. When will you also offer paper books ?
Andy McNab : We are actually already selling (English-speaking) paper books from my own site andymcnab.co.uk and from gospoken.com. This will become very interesting when we can integrate the paper offering to the digital’s. Imagine just a minute if you could purchase a hardback title and get the digital version for free or at a reduced price to download on your phone or your eReader.
However Mobcast’s current focus is to offer a digital books platform that will allow customers to download books on up to 3 devices (eReaders, PC, mobile phones) from gospoken.com and the co-branded eBook shops (white-label sites) we’re running for our partners.
ActuaLitté : Google Books recently digitised lots of books that were out of copyright and make them theirs. Do you think what they’re offering to publishers & authors to compensate losses is fair ?
Andy McNab : No, I do not. However, the fact is that Google thinks they can do it so therefore why not? There is still a final decision to be made in the US courts that will finally decide if Google are allowed to continue. Besides the monetary arguments there is also a cultural concern. The majority of books Google propose to put online are ringing with language. So therefore
European language books of scholarship will not be represented as fully as they should.
ActuaLitté : How do French publishers react when you explain what you do and the opportunities you can bring ? How do their reaction differ from the American and British publishing houses ?
Andy McNab : The feedback on our eBook apps has been positive so far and the French publishers have shown great interest in the opportunity to reach the mobile operator portals and app stores’ customers. There are over 55M mobile phone subscribers in France and the mobile networks have got years of experience in selling high-quality content which they do with music and games for example. Bottom line is that everybody has a mobile phone but not everyone can afford an eReader.
The reaction we get from them may differ slightly because of Mobcast set up. We are a pro-active retailer transforming the digital files into mobile eBooks. But we will be able to work with their current digital books delivery platforms when we launch our eBook shop delivering epubs to eReaders and PC.
Our final goal is to offer a legal market place for digital books and allow people who want to consume books on wireless connected devices (eReaders, PC and mobile phones) to do so. For this, we are determined to work out a technical solution with the French publishers that would work for mobile phones too.
ActuaLitté : When will we see GoSpoken offering develop in France ?
Andy McNab : Our D2C offering will be localised for the French market in the next 3-4 months. We’re also in the process of uploading French content to the app stores. Last but not least, we are in conversations with French networks so watch this space!
ActuaLitté : Why not set up subscription models with operators and manufacturers ?
Andy McNab : This is also something Mobcast is looking at setting up with both mobile operators & manufacturers using their API but also on our D2C offering. Stay tuned !