U.K. Indie Launches Hybrid App, Garners Industry Acclaim
With an emphasis on diverse content and social interaction, Caffeine Nights hopes to make its branded app a destination for users.
Originally a small crime and horror publisher out of Kent, England, Caffeine Nights Publishing has since evolved, developing a robust hybrid app and a dedicated reader base. Unlike most publisher-branded apps, though, the Caffeine Nights app allows users to make purchases of Caffeine Nights books as well as around 30,000 titles from other publishing houses. "We'll sell books by our rivals in order to make the app an interesting place for the readers to come," says founder Darren Laws. "If all they get is Caffeine Nights shoved down their throats, I can imagine they'd lose interest relatively quickly."
Caffeine Nights grew out of a blog Laws started in 1998. Back then, he worked in PR and devoted his nights to establishing a way for local authors to publish their work. In 2006, Laws and his crew decided to move towards a more traditional mode and introduced a print–on–demand service for budding authors. A year later, Laws renamed the company Caffeine Nights Publishing. Since 2013, Caffeine Nights has published a total of 40 books, with an expected 15 titles to be released this year.
Caffeine Nights' app aims to be a destination, not just an online bookstore. In addition to being an ereader and ecommerce app, the platform features audio and video elements, such as podcasts and interviews, reviews, and deals, in order to generate interest in and keep users inside the app. To stay competitive, Caffeine Nights offers a digital copy of every book bought in print. "We don't believe in making people pay for the same content twice; it's just ludicrous and I can't wrap my head around it at all," says Laws. In an effort to keep readers engaged, Caffeine Nights also sends out free and discounted exclusives in its Sleepless Saturday newsletter promotion every week, chosen by their own authors and including the works of Stephen King, James Patterson, and others.