ValoBox introduces ‘pay as you go’ books

Last year at Publishing Now, we were intrigued by Anna Lewis and Oliver Brooks, and their plans to launch Valobox, a platform to allow bite-sized purchasing from books. A year later and they have just announced that they are working with O’Reilly in the US and Profile, Guardian Books, Constable & Robinson and SnowBooks in the UK. Exciting times for Valobox. Anna Lewis explains their model and how it works.

Last week I was really happy to announce the official launch of ValoBox.

Like a ‘YouTube for books’, with an iTunes purchase model ValoBox makes books available on demand through your web browser, and lets you buy individual chapters or even pages.

We’ve made ValoBox so you can search the full text of the book, then buy and read the bits you want from within an online reader. There are no downloads, large upfront payments or specialist reading software required. All purchases are stored in the cloud and can be accessed later from any device with a browser.

Recommendations from people you trust are hugely influential when it comes to books. So, to incentivise people to tell others about books they enjoy, we’re offering a 25% affiliate cut. That’s a lot higher than your average share. Users can refer friends or contacts by sending them a direct link to the book, or embedding the ValoBox widget on their website or blog.

Publishers with content on ValoBox include US-based O’Reilly Media, and a number of UK publishers such as Profile Books, Guardian Books, Constable & Robinson, and Snowbooks. It’s been great to work with such an interesting and dynamic set of publishers.

The titles we have range from books on web development and business, to politics, science and genre fiction. We’re really interested to find out how different types of books work with the ValoBox model.

We’re also running private trials with a number of other major educational and trade publishers to enable them to offer their consumers the option to access books via the web. We’re hoping to announce some more content soon.

We designed ValoBox to solve a problem that both my co-founder and I faced when studying and researching: how to get hold of expert content when you’re short on time and money. We’d been disappointed with the effort of existing eBook retailers to come up with a solution, so decided to develop something ourselves.

It’s great to see the product built and launched – of course, there are always tweaks and improvements to come, but we hope that it will be an important step towards making the excellent content within books more accessible than ever.