In the third of an ongoing series of articles spotlighting book business–related AI startups, we take a look at Spines, an AI-powered self-publishing platform, and Storywise, a tool to help publishers and agents manage manuscript submissions. (Read parts one and two of the series here.)

Spines Applies Israeli AI to U.S. Self-publishing

Spines aims to become a comprehensive AI-powered publishing platform. The Miami-based company was founded by Israeli entrepreneur Yehuda Niv, founder of Niv Publishing, Israel’s main self-publishing platform, and launched last year, initially as BooxAI.

According to Niv, Spines's platform simplifies every aspect of publishing, from editing and proofreading to cover design, distribution, and marketing. Authors upload their manuscripts and, within two weeks, their books are published and available to readers globally. The AI, under the guidance of a production manager, handles detailed editing, designs scores of versions of the book's cover for the author to choose from, and optimizes metadata to ensure the highest chances of success.

"Our vision is that anyone who wishes to publish a book can," Niv told PW. "If you want to realize your publishing dream because you want to leave your mark, your personal brand, your business brand, or you want to show your story with the world, we will help you in the most efficient and affordable way."

Niv launched Niv Publishing in 2013 as a recent college graduate. After al little more than a decade, the company now publishes 15% of the books in Israel. He believes that by using AI, Spines can surpass that percentage more quickly in the U.S. In 2023, Spines published more than 500 titles, but Niv estimates that Spines may publish a total of 3,000 new titles by the end of 2024.

"Instead of the author going through service providers, we help them to produce the book in one place," Niv explained. "Our AI can scan everything, never miss a thing, and offer suggestions to correct all spelling mistakes. We format the book with our technology and publish the file across countless channels. It happens in less than two weeks and, with AI, at a significantly reduced cost compared with other publishers."

The platform also provides users with AI-driven marketing services, royalty management—offering up to 70% of royalties back to the author—and distribution to more than 100 retailers, from Amazon to Barnes & Noble. Dependent on budget, "our AI will create all the creatives, banners, videos, and manage the campaigns across all channels for you," Niv said.

Spines has attracted $6.5 million in seed funding from primarily Israeli investors, including Aleph, LionTree LLC, M-Fund, and Dan Sensor, coauthor of the book Start-Up Nation.

While Spines is currently focused on serving self-publishing authors, Niv sees potential for expansion. “In the future, we might enable publishers to use the platform as well," he said.

Storywise Aims to Help Publishers Efficiently Manage Submissions

AI platform Storywise is looking to help publishers and literary agents manage the typically overwhelming number of unsolicited manuscript submissions they receive. Launched at the end of March by CEO Gavin Marcus and chief product officer Jeremy Esekow, the tool ingests and analyzes manuscripts, query letters, and synopses to provide publishers with key information to help them quickly evaluate submissions.

"Storywise is a platform for publishers and authors to help them manage and prioritize submissions in terms of a workflow," Marcus told PW. "It's essentially a workflow tool and prioritization tool."

The platform links up with a publisher or agent's submission email address and analyzes the content, pulling out data points like genre, word count, writing quality, plot structure, and marketability. It also researches publicly available information on the author, such as social media presence and professional background. The platform then creates a synopsis for the user to evaluate.

"We take a look at the book itself and we analyze it based on the quality of the writing," Marcus explained. "It's a qualitative ranking, more than a quantitative one." Publishers have the ability to filter submissions by specified criteria, such as word count and genre.

Storywise operates on a usage-based pricing model, with costs around $2 per analyzed manuscript. Early adopters are primarily small to medium–sized publishers, and typically pay $500-$1,000 per month on annual contracts.

Marcus, in addition to running Storywise, is a co-owner of ProBook, an English-language academic book wholesaler and bookstore in Tel Aviv; Esekow is a technologist and an aspiring author. They acknowledge that the recent explosion of generative AI has sparked both excitement and apprehension in the publishing community.

"There's been a big pushback in the author community with AI and a lot of fear around it," Marcus said. "We'd like to show that it's not all terrible—there are good use cases, provided that there's no end-run done on the data." He added: "We're driving at allowing that a publisher to spend time on more value-added tasks," such as, he suggested, "working more with an author on the marketing."

The start-up has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Like Spines, it is based in Israel, but is focused on the U.S. and U.K. markets, where the founders see the most potential for growth. Looking ahead, the company aims to expand its platform with additional services.

"We don't see manuscript analysis as the only way forward and once we have the publishers and agents on board, then we can start adding more. It's a foundation for a platform that we're building," Marcus said. Despite his ambition and confidence in the technology, he added, he does not see Storywise as a end-all-be-all solution to manuscript analysis: "We’re betting that AI can help the publishing industry work smarter. In the end, we know it can't fully replace human insight and judgment.”

For more information on the intersections of the technology and publishing spaces, visit our Book Publishing Startups Database.