E-readers help authors sell their self-published books across the world with one click, but they also create a disconnect: readers can’t give face-to-face feedback or eagerly question authors about their favorite heroes. Ebook publishing platform BookieJar hopes to reconnect them.
“Readers and writers need each other,” insists cofounder Deyun Wu, a former Microsoft program manager who regularly attends book groups herself.
In addition to connecting with readers, BookieJar authors can publish ebooks for the Kindle, iPad, and Nook, among others; set up a profile page; and promote their work through discounts or Google and Facebook ads. Authors keep the rights to their work, and they can also publish on Kobo, an ebook retailer that BookieJar has an agreement with. Meanwhile, readers can browse samples, download ebooks, and see rankings and comments by others.
BookieJar is free for all users, but the company takes a 30% cut of ebook revenues, the same as Amazon for many Kindle books. Since May, the beta site has attracted 800 users.
As a Kindle user, I see several attractive features in BookieJar. First, authors can post books that are in progress and get feedback, making readers part of the creation process. Once the book is done, BookieJar helps authors autograph ebooks using patent-pending technology; this is a major way they distinguish themselves from competitors like Smashword, Wattpad, and Lulu. Finally, users can add a BookieJar widget to their site that lists the books they have read or published.
My biggest complaint is the need to download ebook files from BookieJar and then transfer them to your device. I had to go searching for my Kindle cord, and that means I can’t download books on the go. But Wu assures me that they are working on a deal with a major e-reader manufacturer to solve this problem. A self-published author I spoke with also expressed concern that selling on BookieJar would detract from Amazon rankings, which are a major way indie authors gain visibility.
We hope our Tech Cocktail Seattle attendees enjoyed meeting BookieJar last Thursday.