From Pete’s Desk is a blog series by Peter Hudson, co-founder and CEO at Shelfie.
The first day I saw an e-Ink eReader, I remember thinking it was just like an iPod for books. And if an eReader was like an iPod, and my books were like my CDs, then surely it was only a matter of time before an iTunes for books would come around and allow me to “rip” my real books and put them onto eReader. But books are not CDs, and the DIY Book Scanner never reached the level of market penetration achieved by PCs with CD-ROMs drives. As such, today if you want to put a real book onto your eReader you’re only option is to purchase the eBook at full price.
It’s not possible (nor legal) to “format shift” a real book into an eBook the way it was possible (and legal) to format shift music CDs to MP3s for personal use. Some publishers have started to bundle eBooks and print books at the point of purchase. Some publishers are even offering a free eBook with the purchase of a print edition. Right now, the publishers who are experimenting with the concept of “buy a book, get the free (or discounted) eBook” have built their own in-house verification systems.
From a reader’s perspective being able to get a free or discounted eBook if you own the print book is great. But having to get that eBook through a different system for books from different publishers isn’t. For publishers having their own in-house system isn’t great because it requires investment to develop, maintain, and staff. For small publishers building and maintaining a system simply isn’t possible.
That’s where Shelfie comes in… we are building a platform where all publishers can securely and simply distribute eBooks for free or at a discount to readers who already own a print copy of one of their books. This is how it works…