Bookmate's Simon Dunlop Talks English-Language Expansion & Making Bookmate the Leading Mobile Reading Platform
Bookmate, an ebook subscription platform serving emerging digital markets including Russia, Ukraine, and Singapore, announced yesterday that it is expanding its library of English language content. The service signed deals with six ebook aggregators -- Ingram, ePubDirect, Diversion Books, Head of Zeus, Legend Press, and Casemate -- to grow its English language collection to over 200,000 titles. This complements the several thousand English language books HarperCollins added to Bookmate last year.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to bring new books to the half a billion people that speak or read English outside of English-speaking countries," Bookmate co-founder Simon Dunlop told Book Business, "This is the first wave of deals that we've been negotiating over the last 12-14 months. There should be more English language publishers coming onto the service this year."
The Bookmate model is unique among subscription services for several reasons. 90% of Bookmate's 1 million users reading on their mobile phones, according to Dunlop, rather than the heavy tablet and ereader usage other platforms see. Additionally, the service emphasizes social interactions around its content. "To keep mobile phone users coming back, aside from logging on to find new books, we need to provide social services," explains Dunlop. Services like curated bookshelves -- where users can share what they are reading or plan to read with the larger community -- have helped Bookmate bring readers back for more. And Dunlop plans to enhance Bookmate's social capabilities with the introduction of in-app chat features and eventually book annotations.
Dunlop's vision for Bookmate's future is ambitious and it's predicated on the growth of mobile phone reading. "I'd like Bookmate to be a dominant reading service for mobile reading and in the markets we serve," says Dunlop, "As screen sizes get bigger, as smart phone penetration increases, and as people become more comfortable reading on mobile phones, the mobile phone space, and becoming a leader in this space, has become very exciting."
Over the next five years Dunlop hopes Bookmate will become the top mobile phone reading service, but much of the platform's success still relies on the buy-in of publishers. "Without great content, it's hard to get a dominant position. I can see that publishers are more interested in mobile phones and are more prepared to work with us in that sector."
Dunlop hinted that we can expect multiple publisher partnerships announced in the coming months.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.