Aerbook Ebook Platform Introduces Publishers to Native Retail
San Francisco-based Aerbook tackles the issue of ebook discoverability by using social media channels to get ebooks to readers. "If you spend any time on Twitter or Facebook, you have a constant moving stream of information," explains founder and CEO Ron Martinez, "Every other form of media has been able to capitalize on that. The fastest growing area of advertising is native ads, where you deploy the ad right into the stream."
This is exactly what Aerbook does with ebooks, sending page excerpts into the social media stream where readers can then buy the entire work. "It's sort of like native advertising," says Martinez, "but you can think of it as native retail."
To create this native retail experience, Aerbook uses cloud-based technology, hosting its clients' ebooks on the Aerbook Cloud. From there, certain pages can be made viewable to the public in a preview format. Those pages are then wrapped in "social metadata," so that when shared, the pages will appear in the social network's native post format. After viewing the preview, users can choose to purchase the book directly from the Aerbook Cloud and have it sent to their ereader or tablet. If they enjoy the read, they can share other selected pages on social media and continue the discoverability cycle.
In addition, Aerbook makes everything trackable. "Clients can track purchases, what pages are most popular, when the share button was hit, what device readers are on, the location, the operating system -- the kinds of things that people delivering media in any form other than books routinely expect."
Founded in 2010, Aerbook was originally envisioned as a solution for illustrated, non-narrative, and nonfiction books, a subset that had yet to flourish in ebook format due to complicated production. Although EPUB provides a platform that can easily convert narrative fiction to multiple formats, illustrated and interactive books had no such common ground. Because of the lack of unifying platform, conversion services were expensive, often costing publishers $3-$7 a page to produce a high-quality visual book.
Aerbook's solution was to create that common ground for illustrated, non-narrative works. "When a book is put into the Aerbook service," explains Martinez "we break it down into an XML formulation in our CMS. When you want a format, you press a button and it will package the book into that format and host it on the cloud."
Now, Aerbook offers this same service to all types of ebooks, including both narrative and illustrated works. It is this conversion software that then hosts the XML formulation on the Aerbook Cloud, allowing for sharable pages on social media, direct sales, and greater consumer data.
These complementary features have attracted the notice of Ingram Content Group, which has begun to integrate Aerbook services into CoreSource and IngramSpark, which aid in the distribution of both ebooks and print throughout the world.
What does the future hold for Aerbook? Expect more data about user locations and book discoverability related to that. Martinez describes this soon-to-be announced project as "a new form of retail that maps into the way that people discover and browse and where that browsing takes place."