BookExpo America is the largest North American publishing event and it has grown to encompass nearly every aspect of the book industry. From dedicated book blogger events and author book signings to digital business conferences and platform launches, if it involves books in any way, it happens at BookExpo.
This year, Good e-Reader came across a number of platforms whose functions involve helping self-published authors with various aspects of their works. Some of these companies specialize in social sharing and book discovery, while others actually help authors incorporate enhanced features into their ebooks.
Booklikes is an international platform that basically functions like a dedicated Goodreads but with the added functionality of focusing on those book blogs. With more than 40,000 members who currently run active book blogs and a readership that correlates to that amount of traffic, this site is a great resource for authors looking to put their books in front of readers who will actively share that news from their blogs.
While crowdfunding/preorder site Pubslush has already made a name for itself in the backing community for being dedicated solely to book projects, the company was on hand exhibiting in the Startup Challenge alley to get the word out about the platform. Unlike typical crowdfunding sites that take projects of any nature, Pubslush not only is bookcentric, but also awards all funds raised to the project minus the operating expenses, unlike major platforms that require the proposal to reach the full amount of the fundraising goal or risk losing all of the funding.
Another exciting book crowdfunding site works somewhat differently than Pubslush, and that’s Pentian. Focusing on their US expansion after a highly successful international launch, the company lets authors crowdfund for the money needed to use Pentian’s in-house self-publishing team. While authors must publish through Pentian to use the crowdfunding feature, this platform has a lot to offer in terms of future book discovery; the financial backers who support a book’s campaign become a part of the royalty payments for the first three years of the book’s publication, meaning those people will presumably encourage book sales in order to benefit from the royalties.
As for the creation of the ebooks themselves, two exciting companies at the event were Booktrack and Beneath the Ink. Booktrack allows authors and readers to create musical scores that serve almost like a movie soundtrack within the book, playing ambient music while keeping up with the reader’s speed. Already studies have shown a greater enjoyment level with books that feature this musical engagement, as well as significantly improved reading comprehension scores from students who read with this feature enabled. Beneath the Ink gives authors the ability to add enhancements within their ebooks with nearly point-and-click functionality, meaning you don’t have to be a computer programmer to add images, text, videos, definitions, and more to a self-published ebook. This feature is especially helpful for books with lengthy casts of characters or odd names, such as those that are found in sci-fi or fantasy titles.
A number of other companies also exhibited their tech features that support ebooks, especially from indie authors. A full run-down of the companies is available from the BookExpo America website.