Developed by Democrasoft, a software developer specializing in collaboration and engagement, a WeJIT is “a way to make books better by embedding interactivity that allows readers to connect and collaborate in a customized online social experience that is engaging and fun,” Democrasoft CEO Richard Lang said in a phone interview. The WeJIT, which can be embedded in an e-book, an app, e-mail or Web site, allows publishers or authors to set up self-contained online discussions and surveys or solicit commentary online while sharing these interactions and using the WeJIT link for e-commerce.
Democrasoft first created an online platform for education in 2008 that had about 50,000 teachers using it, but Lang said his team noticed “it was used tactically. They would interact with our tools and leave and then come back when they needed it again.” Lang said the company started looking to create a platform “that you didn’t have to join, that was portable and could be used to connect around a single topic, and that could show up anywhere.”
Indeed, a WeJIT link can appear in any online environment; once clicked it will take the user to a dedicated Web page that can be constructed around a topic with a yes or no answer that also allows comments. A WeJIT page can be used for straight discussion, for surveys, or for other topics. For books, the WeJIT link can be used to start discussions about the book’s themes, or the same page can offer other titles by the publisher, audiobooks, merchandise—really anything the publisher or author wants to sell—with e-commerce links to the appropriate retailers.
Lang described the WeJIT Web page as a “module,” a self-contained discussion that can start in the book but be shared easily via e-mail or social media, extending the online discussion to potential readers and buyers. “The WeJIT is designed for viral growth,” Lang said, “and can bring potential readers into a discussion that may start inside a book” or elsewhere online. Lang said publishers can embed a WeJIT in an e-book and use it “for book discovery, backlist sales, or word of mouth when the link is shared.” He said that self-publishers can “use it for marketing by virtue of their book’s topic,” and embed the WeJIT in a blog or Tweet to drive traffic to their WeJIT topic page.
Democrasoft (MyWeJit.com) offers pricing at $99 (unlimited WeJITs for a year with annual renewal), $199 (unlimited WeJITs for three years with renewal), and $299 (unlimited WeJITs, pay once and no renewal needed).
The technology was put to use by J.D. Messinger in the e-book version of his book, 11 Days in May, to ask readers a variety of questions and solicit responses about the book. (His e-book with WeJIT technology was awarded a Publishing Innovation Award for Nonfiction at the 2012 Digital Book World conference.) Lang also said that a technology-oriented literary agency, Waterside Productions, is acting as a sales rep for the WeJIT technology. In addition, Dynasty Press in the U.K. and IBPA in the U.S. are distributing and selling WeJIT technology to other publishers. “We think the WeJIT can help publishers and authors,” Lang said.