Inkling, a software platform for creating online interactive e-books, has acquired two branded book series—the Betterbook and Ready, Set, Baby! brands—from Open Air Publishing, a digital-first nonfiction e-book and app producer. The acquisition is a new strategic move by Inkling, a company that generally works with publishers to convert their titles into the inkling’s content display platform using Inkling habitat, its multimedia authoring software.
The deal includes eight titles among them Master Your DSLR Camera: A Better Way to Learn Digital Photography, Wine Simplified: Navigate Wine with Confidence and You Can Knit! A Better Way to Learn Knitting Basics. Jon Feldman, Founder and CEO of Open Air Publishing, said, “Now, with direct access to the underlying technologies that made our innovations possible, our media-rich and engaging learning content will benefit from Inkling’s deeper resources to reach even more people.”
In a phone interview with Inkling CEO Matt MacInnis, he said that the acquisition was in line with Inkling’s efforts to aggregate a wide variety of nonfiction content—from STEM textbooks and serious nonfiction to consumer information like cookbooks and household reference—using Habitat to structure the content for the Inkling Content Display platform. Inkling Habitat is a software authoring tool that structures content into online interactive e-books but also makes it uniquely discoverable by Google searches.
“We’re after knowledge-based content,” MacInnis said, noting that Inkling offers an alternative to the downloadable e-book, providing access to interactive e-books. “Knowledge-based content needs a flexible and sensible format. These brands are bestsellers and we want to be able to offer them at a variety of prices, in bundles and by subscription.” However, MacInnis also said, “We’re not going to become a publisher, we’re not going to launch new brands but we will buy certain brands to add to the Inkling platform.” He also said that the brands will “not remain static, there will investment and development.”
Habitat structures content into discrete “cards,” chunks of information similar to the pages in a book that can be retrieved individually by a Google search. The Inkling Content Display Platform is structured to make content easily discoverable and purchasable (in part or in complete book form) via the web as well as on devices.
In July Inkling announced $16 million in new funding and major partnerships with Pearson and Elsevier to convert their titles into the Inkling format. In wake of these deals, MacInnis said that Inkling is also growing fast with plans to hire as many as 30 people in this quarter alone, bringing its total number of employees to about 110. “The response to Habitat has been overwhelming with Elsevier and Pearson deploying their content on Inkling,” he said.
By the end of the year Inkling expects to have about 1,000 titles available and close to 750,000 Inkling “cards” searchable via Google. “We enable publishers to build structured content at scale that can be retrieved by a Google search,” MacInnis said, “We’re opportunistic and we want to work with publishers who can see beyond the book.”