After a year of acquisitions that included the online literary boutique Byliner and the e-book data analysis engine Booklr, e-book creator Vook has relaunched itself as Pronoun. The new company is a soup-to-nuts self-publishing platform comprising the combined technological tools of Byliner, Booklr and Vook. Declaring itself “a new model for authors,” Pronoun offers its services free of charge and gives authors a 100% royalty rate.
“Pronoun is committed to changing the publishing model by making it open, and by making it free,” said Josh Brody, Pronoun CEO. Brody said the new platform is the culmination of “a year of acquisitions and building a new team,” that will offer “a new kind of platform that empowers authors.”
Vook launched in 2009 as an e-book and interactive content production company. Vook has distributed over 6,000 titles via all the major e-book retailers. Booklr, a data analysis company, tracks millions of e-book sales around the world for individual authprs and major houses. And Byliner, an online literary imprint and e-book store, published original and backlist titles by bestselling authors such as Nick Horney and Jodi Poult.
Pronoun chief product officer Ben Zhuk said: “Our mission at Pronoun is to put authors first by building free digital tools that help them find and reach their audience for the lifetime of their books, not just at launch.”
Brody said the global self-publishing market is a $100 billion one. “We’re in a world where everything has been reshaped by technology and distribution," he told PW. "A legacy publisher might give an author a shot at publishing and release a book after 18 months. But authors cede all power to the publishing house. Self-publishing makes a lot of promises but has its own challenges. Pronoun has the digital tools, data analysis and more that will give authors both creative and financial control going forward.”
The new company has about 20 employees and recently moved into new offices in Manhattan's Times Square.
Asked how Pronoun will make money while giving authors a 100% royalty on all their e-book sales, Brody said the company will continue to generate revenue from its current legacy businesses in data conversion and sales tracking, but intends to take the classic tech startup posture and focus on creating a platform that attracts authors.
“Pronoun starts with the author at its core, and builds from there,” he explained. “We’re focused on building the platform, and it should be free to authors.”