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Ron Conway and others investing in the future of the digital book
When we first showcased Vook here on Vator, the company was in early development stages. Brad Inman, founder of the startup, had a vision to create an evolution of the what we know traditionally as, the book. His idea was to make use of touch devices like the iPhone to create interactive books which mixed media like video, audio and plain text. At the same time, this digital book could connect to the Web to incorporate social media, like streams from Twitter which related to the story one was consuming.
Well, the vision is quickly becoming a reality as Vook announced on Friday it's landed $2.5 million in funding. Investors include the legendary Ron Conway who's invested in Twitter, Kenneth Lerer of the Huffington Post, Maples Investments, Baseline Ventures and Founder Collective.
It makes sense the funding comes now, at a time when touch devices and tablet computing is said to explode in 2010. The Apple iPad's release is just looming around corner, and an investment in a digital bookmaker sounds about right.
Since Vook's launch last fall, it's partnered with publishers like Simon & Schuster, Harper Studio and Hachette Filipacchi Media. It also has announced titles with authors like Anne Rice and Seth Godin. Inman told Beet.tv his company plans to release 250 titles this year.
The startup has also focused some of its early stage energies on releasing some Vooks based on classics, like The Jungle Book, Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, and Jack and the Beanstock, which you can actually purchase in Apple's App Store for a few dollars.
And one must ask, with such high production value, like the filmmaking that goes into creating a Vook, can this business truly succeed? Inman told us in an interview back in June of last year, "The technology is a very scalable application. Then there's production and video which is high quality so you're talking thousands and thousand of dollars. But the beauty is they have a very efficient production model."
And at the same time, the price of creating Vooks ranges on the type of content. Inman told us, "It depends on if it is novel where we have to create a fancy storytelling, it's a lot more. If it's a cookbook in one setting where we produce all of them, it's a lower cost."
As for where the funds will be allocated, Inman told the NYTimes he'd be expanding the company, forging new relationships with authors and publishers, and building automated tools which could possibly generate hundreds of Vooks a week.
We've contacted Inman to find out what his iPad plans are, because there must be some...we'll keep you posted.
For a whole lot more about Vook, check out our interviews here on Vator.
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Vook was created in 2008 by Internet entrepreneur Bradley Inman, with the vision to unite the disparate worlds of books and videos into one complete, blended story.
Vook has created an innovative platform where
all forms of media come together to create a whole greater than the sum
of its parts. Vook weaves together content from incredible writers and
professionally shot and edited videos by filmmakers from TurnHere.
Vooks also enhance the community and discussion associated with reading
great books and watching great films.
You can read your book, watch videos that enhance the story and connect with authors and your friends through social media all on one screen, without switching between platforms.
Vooks are available in two formats: As a web-based application you can read on your computer and a mobile application for reading on the go.
With the web-based application you don't have to download programs or install software. Just open your favorite browser and start reading and watching in an exciting new way. You can also download and install the mobile applications through the Apple iTunes store and sync them with your Apple mobile device.