Enhancing the E-book Business
Vook officially launched in September 2009 with four vooks it produced in partnership with Simon & Schuster—two fiction titles (Jude Deveraux's "Promises" and Richard Doetsch's "Embassy"), an exercise title (Pete Cerqua's "The 90-Second Fitness Solution") and a self-help title (Narine Nikogosian's "Return to Beauty"). The mix of genres was intentional, says Cavnar, in order to test what types of books would work well in this format.
Shortly thereafter, the new company partnered with the now-defunct HarperCollins imprint, HarperStudio, to publish a vook of entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk's "Crush It!"—"and that just really took off," says Cavnar. "That … demonstrated to us that there's an audience for … what we're [creating]; this is an opportunity here. A lot of [the vooks are] centered around strong personalities [and] people who the audience wants to connect with more closely. With Gary, the video really brought you into his life and showed you the man behind the book. It got you closer."
"Gary shares the Vook vision. He understands that this new media approach is the best way to deliver his story to fans and readers," said Inman at the time of the "Crush It!" release.
Finding What Works
Since its initial launch, Vook has published more than 100 titles—some in partnership with publishers, some directly with authors, and about 20 original titles that it acquired and produced on its own. According to Cavnar, it is the largest enhanced publisher currently in Apple's iBookstore, with more than 70 titles. "We've got more titles in the iBookstore that are enhanced than the six big publishers combined," he says.
Vooks are available to consumers via applications for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch; the Amazon Kindle application; and a web-based application that facilitates reading on your computer. They soon will be available on Barnes & Noble's Nook application as well as on the Android platform. With so many titles now under its e-belt, Vook has developed an understanding of what works in this format and what doesn't. "Health and fitness is a huge home run for us," says Cavnar, pointing to the ability to demonstrate exercises via videos. "Our pilates title just exploded. We can't stop selling those. … We've got a 'Yoga in Bed' title that's also been an incredible seller."