CarverTech, a technology management and consultant firm, has launched skBookshop.com, an easy-to-use web service that allows publishers to offer their book catalog through Facebook and as an app on mobile phones. The service allows publishers to quickly create free promotions and e-book giveaways on Facebook in addition to tracking a wide range of specific analytical data, from e-mail addresses and downloads to “Likes” and new users.
SkBookshop offers publishers a turnkey service that allows them to circulate their list of e-books on Facebook, which currently has about 900 million users, about half of whom access it using mobile phones. But skBookshop.com also allows publishers to quickly and inexpensively create an app for mobile devices—only Android at present with Apple’s iOS in development for later in 2012, according to Justin Loeber of CarverTech.
While Loeber was quick to point out that the Facebook service as well as the mobile apps do not allow the publishers to sell directly to consumers, the services make it very easy to offer free e-book giveaways and track consumer participation in them. “There’s no selling through the services, right now,” Loeber said in a phone interview, “platforms like Facebook and mobile phones change so much and are so fluid its hard to keep the coding up to date.”
The service charges a one-time startup fee ($45 for Facebook; $60 for Android) and a monthly subscription fee that varies based on the number of title of the pubisher wishes to list: up to 500 titles, $29.95/month for Facebook; $24.95/month for Android; up to 1000 titles, $44.95/month for Facebook; $34.95/month for Android).
Once a publisher signs with skBookshop they receive a password protected logon account that allows them to easily upload their catalog data to the skBookshop servers as well as a control panel/Dashboard that provides detailed analytical information displayed in the form of easy-to-understand graphs and color-coded pie-charts and bar codes. Publishers have control over every aspect of the process and the content is available to display online instantly after upload.
Once displayed on Facebook or Android phones, publishers can instantly update or change their data across all platforms by making changes through their central logon/control panel. Catalogs are displayed in color with individual pages and author info on each book and pages include "buy buttons" which really only link back to the publisher's website. If the publishers create a promotion or e-book giveaway for the web service they can also place that same promotion on their websites or blog and still track usage and data analytics. Indeed, the analytics control panel offered by skBookshop offers an impressive range of data feedback once a publisher's list is active on Facebook or a mobile phone and they can track the number of participants, who is clicking through, collect e-mail addresses of participants and track what platforms consumers are using (Android or Facebook) and more.
The service is ideal, Loeber said, for increasing the number of “Likes” on a publisher's website or blog by using free e-book giveaways as a promotion. Loeber said a publisher can set a promotion with a referral link that will give a consumer a free e-book if they, say, get five of their friends to click through. Loeber said a publisher can have its list active on skBookshop.com in about 48 hours and the service also offers optional custom services like unique design, custom development for special features and data services, all for additional fees.