One of the more common complaints of those who have held out against eBooks thus far is the comparative difficulty (and subsequent lack of charm) of presenting a book as a gift digitally rather than physically. Gift an eBook, however, launched this past week, is a venture that aims to level the playing field between the two.
A joint effort between independent publisher Constable & Robinson and pay as you go eBook service ValoBox, the service allows readers to buy a digital copy of a book and then send a free additional copy to a friend, along with a personalised message that will remain with their copy as an inscription would in a physical copy. Titles can be read on ValoBox’s reader, accessible through any web browser and compatible with all PCs, tablets and smartphones.
ValoBox co-founder Anna Lewis says of the scheme: ‘Digitisation has made books more accessible than ever, but some of the magic associated with gifting and sharing those reading experiences has been lost. You can hand someone a paper book without giving them instructions on how to open it, or worrying if they have the right reading device. This partnership with Constable & Robinson has given us the opportunity to address this and match both the thoughtful process of giving a physical book and the delight of receiving one.’
Constable & Robinson’s director of Digital & Communications, Rob Nichols, unsurprisingly agrees: ‘Sharing newly read books and favourite authors with friends and family is what readers love to do. Our partnership with ValoBox […] will now allow readers to do just that in a way that is personal, not digital; enthusiastic, not algorithmic. Gift an eBook is just one way that ValoBox’s technology will enable authors, publishers and readers to connect and share their love of books.’
The service has launched with over 2,000 titles readily available. ValoBox users can also profit from recommending books they read to others – every sale that comes from one of their recommendations gives them 25% of the sale price back, which is automatically added to their ValoBox account.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.