You’ve Heard of the Netflix of Books. Here’s the Redbox of Books
iFlipd, the self-proclaimed "Redbox of Books," is experimenting with an ebook rental model that lowers costs for readers while making the reading experience more social. When an iFlipd reader finishes a book before the allotted week or decides that she doesn't want to complete it, she can "flip" it back to the community. In doing so, the reader offers up her unused days and halves the cost of access to $1 for another iFlipd reader. Below iFlipd founder Kati Radziwon explains why publishers will see even more distribution strategies inspired by the film and music industries in the not-too-distant future.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Maybe you just need to read a specific chapter in a parenting or business book, or say you're going on vacation and want to have a few children's books for the week -- now you don't have to pay full price or subscribe to read what you want. We're also trying to help distribute publishers' backlist titles and promote discoverability with a low price point and the social features integrated in the app.
What inspired you to launch iFlipd?
The idea for iFlipd started over a simple coffee date with a girlfriend. She was looking for a parenting book and couldn't find it for less than $20 and there was a 4-month waiting list at the library for it. She wasn't event 100% sure she would like it and just wanted to test it out before buying. This started my wheels turning and I began to research ebook rentals. I quickly realized there was no good solution out there and decided to solve the problem!
What are the most important trends in publishing right now?
The publishing industry is changing rapidly and I think iFlipd is poised to be at the forefront of the change you will begin to see. Consumers are hungry for new options and publishers are in need of additional revenue. Creating more flexible reading platforms that follow the music and movie industries is something I think you will begin to see shift over the next few years. I also think the reading experience will continue to get more social and engaging with authors and publishers coming up with new ways to communicate directly with their readers.
Who is your competition?
The closest competitors we have are subscription-based ebook platforms. Most recently, Amazon came out with Kindle Unlimited. The major difference is that iFlipd allows readers the flexibility of simply renting a single book for a low price. There is no recurring subscription -- just pay for what you read. The best comparison is that we are the digital Redbox of ebooks, whereas subscription models are more like Netflix.
We want to optimize our iOS product and expand into Android and HTML5 to be device agnostic. We have all kinds of exciting milestones on our development roadmap, which will engage readers and different reading communities. We're also focused on marketing partnerships with our content providers to maximize visibility of their books.