Jill Tomich is at the helm of a start-up that's truly cutting edge. Tomich, who was O'Reilly Media's original Sales Director, launched Slicebooks with husband and co-founder Ron, the company's "vision chief and idea troublemaker" (every company should have at least one of those!). With a background that includes technology and a facility with computers, Tomich wanted to be able to take ebooks to a new level, and make them available for purchase by the chapter.
The company's technology takes ebooks or PDFs and "slices" them into sections or chapters, tagging each as an individual entity using metadata based on ONIX. Once the content, which is provided to them by publishers, is sliced, they can add it to their store. The sliced segments are priced individually, with prices ranging from 99 cents to $7.99 for more complicated STM material.
The process is straightforward: Upload a file, identify the slice levels, assign front and back matter, and decide if that is to be included in every slice. Cover templates can also be designed and included. Their tool then creates the slices in a minute or less, depending on the size of the files.
The second part of the tool is a remix tool. Says Tomich: "Once content is sliced [publishers] have a library of slices and can look at the slices, drag and drop which files you want to include, sort the order of the chapters, choose a cover template or upload your own cover, add metadata — it's a new ebook!" Remixes come from multiple books; each slice has its own copyright page.
Remixing is primarily used for text and professional books; consumer remixing is next up. The Consumer Remix Widget is the version of their remix tool that was developed as a widget so that anyone (i.e. bloggers, publishers, authors, etc.) can copy simple code and embed it on their site. It allows the site to provide their audience the opportunity to create a custom ebook (remix) with relevant content. Slicebooks debuted this new feature at BEA and continues to test, but aims to have it available by the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.