Bookface.com to Shut Down Operations
Calvin Reid -- 1/15/01
Blaming the general reluctance of investors to provide new funding to Internet companies, officials at Bookface.com, the advertising-supported reading site that provided free access to online titles, said the company will cease business operations immediately.
Bookface.com launched in June 2000, and over the next six months secured a minority stake from Time Warner Trade Publishing, as well as an agreement to offer hundreds of its titles through the site (E-publishing, May 22, 2000). The site offered more than 2,000 titles from a variety of publishers, accessed through a proprietary technology that offered copyright security. The ad-supported site paid royalties on pages viewed and allowed consumers to buy the print book through associate agreements with online retailers.
Tammy Deuster, CEO and cofounder of Bookface, told PW that despite registering "tens of thousands of readers," the site was never able to attract enough investment. "You need significant money up front to build the technical infrastructure that will allow you to reach economies of scale," said Deuster. "We were never able to get the funding to complete that infrastructure, and we decided that we could not raise it over the next year."
Nevertheless, Deuster remains optimistic about e-publishing, citing the fact that Bookface users' average sessions lasted more than 30 minutes; the site garnered millions of page views each month and generated significant feedback from the Bookface user community. "We've seen tremendous progress in e-books over the last year," said Deuster. "Our situation is really more about the problems facing the dot-com industry."
Deuster also noted that Bookface executive editor Lou Anders has arranged to publish an anthology of fiction in a print version. The book, Outside the Box: The Best Short Fiction from Bookface.com, will be released by Wildside Press in March.
Deuster told PW she had "no plans as yet" for the future.
Volume 247 Issue 3 01/15/2001