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Dutch startup Sweek welcomes 100,000th user

Sweek, a platform for free reading and writing, welcomed its 100,000th user last week, since the official launch at the Frankfurt Book Fair seven months ago. Sweek brings together the author and the reader. Readers can follow and like stories, and share them via social media channels, while creating a tight reading community. They can also give direct feedback to the author. With one click, authors can directly reach their followers.

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Startup snapshot: Read Dog

Kate Cygan and Michael Wray are an entrepreneurial minded couple with insatiable reading habits. They recently moved to Denver, CO and are working on visiting every single coffee shop the city has to offer. Lifelong creatives, they both write and paint in their free time. You can check out Read Dog online at www.readdog.com, on Instagram and on Facebook.

1) What exactly is Read Dog?

Read Dog is a monthly book curation service. We send monthly book boxes with books chosen specifically for individual readers. Every box is unique, hand-packed, and personalized. Each of our boxes include a book (or sometimes books), notes on what’s new with Read Dog, and bookish items. Last month we included markers, crayons, a hand-bound notebook, a Read Dog coloring page, a ruler, and a ton of starburst candies. Check out our past boxes here: http://read.dog/past-boxes In addition, we’re building a book-centered community to discuss novels, non-fiction, and short stories as well as book-relevant news. For now, we are creating a Facebook community for our Read Dog readers where we connect our readers with other bookish people, authors, and new books!

2) What problem does it solve?

We hope to build a the largest online book community in the world. To start, we are learning what books people love, want, and re-gift to loved ones once they’re done. But the ultimate goal of Read Dog is to make sure that readers everywhere feel less lonely by connecting them with their book soulmates. Part of this goal includes making sure readers always have a book in their hand that challenges them and gives them a new perspective. For now, we are guaranteeing an end to the re-reading conundrum where, as one of our subscribers described, you’re stuck “in a re-reading loop and unable to choose a new book.” We guarantee a new book, every month, that you’ve never read before.

3) Who is your target market?

We cater to readers everywhere. Though most of our readers have been reading since childhood and want something new, we have a couple of very young readers (one newborn even!). We have a fair number of parents buying boxes for their children and also children buying boxes for their parents which we love!

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

We just quit our full-time jobs to focus on growing our business and brand, which makes this one of the most exciting and nerve-racking periods of our lives. Luckily, we are seeing results! Over the past couple of months we’ve doubled our subscribers. Now we need to find a way to maintain our current growth while keeping in touch with the personalized aspect that makes Read Dog such an incredible service. Our goal is to build a community of 1,000 readers by the end of 2017. Wish us luck!

5) What will be next for Read Dog?

We’re definitely going to have to be innovative in our solutions as we grow. We’re currently working on some custom “book playlists” for our readers that we know will be huge hits and will help us scale. In the meantime, we also need to find a way to feed ourselves so may be doing some cross-promotions with local authors and bookshops. But for now, we are hyper-focused on delighting our customers.

Spanish start-up interview: SeeBook

SeeBook is a new publishing start-up that enables e-books to be sold in brick-and-mortar stores, given away as gifts or signed by the author. Rosa Sala co-founded the company after years of experiencing challenges within the publishing industry. SeeBook are kindly sponsoring BookMachine Barcelona on Thursday. Maria Cardona interviewed Rosa to find out more.

Maria: What is SeeBook? Where did the idea come from, and what exactly do you offer?

Rosa: In a nutshell: SeeBooks are physical cards which allow you to download ebooks in multiple formats. They are sold in bookshops.

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