After securing a round of funding from Ingram Content Group in early August, Slicebooks, a platform that allows publishers to “slice” books into smaller digital packages for sale in whole or in part, is gearing up to launch new services later in the year. Currently in beta, Slicebooks plans to debut YaBeam, a digital “impulse buy” mobile shopping system, and a consumer “Remix” service that will allow users to create customized content packages from Slicebooks content.
Slicebooks is an automated service that allows publishers to upload their content and break titles into smaller content packages that can be sold individually or allow users to purchase and download the complete book. Publishers can break down their content themselves, or use Slicebooks automated process to “slice” their content into smaller units. Slicebooks’ automated process can quickly “slice” or break up hundreds of books at once into chapter sized units. “We can save publishers time with our automated system,” said Slicebooks cofounder Jill Tomich in an interview at PW's offices, “we can slice hundreds of books at once in minutes, and each unit will have pricing, cover art, links to the parent books added to it.”
Founded by Jill and Ron Tomich, Slicebooks is based in Denver, Co., has two full-time staffers and about 13 contractors for web development, design and programming. Slicebooks essentially offers publishers the ability to create anthologies of content taken from different sources, a service much like academic coursepacks. Tomich said the academic market, “gets it, but we’re aimed at a broader market,” but also said that the company was also in talks with educational publishers to use its system.
The new venture is also preparing to launch YaBeam, a QR/NFC-based mobile technology that will allow consumers to scan a posted QR code or use their phone’s Near Field Communications technology (also known as mobile wallet technology) to buy digital content at any kind of venue, be it a store, restaurant or other venue. Tomich said the service allows venues to post QR codes or NFC scanable data linked to books or other content and the user can use their phone to purchase the content on the spot. YaBeam puts content in places where the appropriate consumer is likely encounter it, Tomich said, for example, placing bicycle content in a bicycle repair or rental shop. And Tomich said that the service is also being pitched to booksellers, who can offer consumers in-store computers to search for and buy content and get credit for the sale from Slicebooks.
Tomich said publishers control pricing of their content in the Slicebooks store (eBookpie.com), prices can be changed quickly and easily (Tomich urges publishers to set “impulse buy” price points) and publishers also decide whether their content is offered in slices or not. While the service is aimed at book publishers, Tomich said it can be used for all kinds of content including music and magazines.
The service is slated to debut in the fall and is designed to “bring discoverability back to publishers,” Tomich said. Slicebooks is also preparing to launch a consumer “Remix” widget that can posted on a Web site that allows users to mix and match Slicebooks content to create customized anthologies.
In addition to receiving seed funding from Ingram Content Group, Slicebooks and ICG have a partnership that allows ICG publishers to upload their content to the Slicebooks database. Tomich says the Slicebooks currently has about 100 publishers—among them the Perseus Books Group. “At a time when content seems to be everywhere,” Tomich said, “it’s also a lot harder to find. Slicebooks offers publishers a new sales channel.”