Social reading platform BookShout! unveiled its newest features at the Frankfurt Book Fair today, and it’s sure to raise some eyebrows in the publishing industry. The new app, originally available for iOS and now Android and web-based as well, allows readers to read their previously purchased digital titles in one location, regardless of which digital platform was used for the purchase.
One of the frustrations that consumers have felt with digital publishing is the artificial constrictions placed on the content by the retailers, meaning that an ebook purchased from Amazon will only be readable on an Amazon device or app; the same is true of other e-readers from other platforms. Opposition to DRM from a number of critics has focused on the walls that retails build around the content, preventing the consumers from accessing their purchased titles on other devices or platforms.
BookShout! has developed the technology to legally remove the barriers to reading. Once consumers purchase the title, regardless of their preferred retail platform for purchase, they can access their titles through BookShout!. Additionally, BookShout! maintains a market place for digital titles and will allow consumers to purchase content there.
While this may upset some retailers who enjoy the artificial mandate that requires their customers to purchase ebooks from them in order to be compatible with their device, BookShout! CEO Jason Illian assures that this is a legal technology, unlike file sharing sites. More importantly, BookShout! has the support of some big names in the industry, including four of the Big Six publishers and O’Reilly’s Tools of Change.
“This is a great day for readers and publishers,” said Tools of Change President Joe Wikert in a press release today. “We are 100 percent supportive of BookShout!’s push to free readers and empower publishers. We will continue to work with BookShout! to allow readers to experience and define e-books in new ways.”
Illian agrees. “We believe customers who have purchased books should have the right to access the content they have paid for, the right to choose the medium or hardware on which they prefer to access that content, and the right to own and interact with others around that content.”