• Sweden edition
 
TECHNOLOGY IN SWEDEN
Swedes pioneer new 'Spotify for e-books'
Platify founders Pascal Denize, Johanna Denize, and Henrik Hussfelt

Swedes pioneer new 'Spotify for e-books'

Published: 15 Sep 2011 08:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Sep 2011 08:35 GMT+02:00

Following in the footsteps of Swedish streaming music service Spotify, a group of tech entrepreneurs believe they've found a similar solution that could revolutionise the book market, The Local's Geoff Mortimore discovers.

The rise of tablet computing continues unabated.

Over 1 million units of the Ipad 2 were sold on the first weekend of release earlier this year, while the rush to join the market grows by the week.

With the hardware infrastructure in place, publishers from both the digital and traditional media have been accused of reacting too slowly for the demand for content, not least in the form of e-books.

With this in mind Johanna and Pascal Denize, a pair of venture capitalists with a long history of start ups in the world of book publishing, founded Platify, a digital reading solution that they hope will transform the book market in the same way that Spotify has managed in the music industry.

”Book publishers have been slow in changing their work practices and business models to suit the new environment,” says Pascal Denize.

”We figured that by using what we have learned in our many years in the business, with the best software solution there is a chance of cornering a market.”

The pair hooked up with software developer Henrik Hussfelt and Platify was born.

Put simply, Platify’s role is to sit between the publishers and the tablets, and manage the purchase and subscription services of books online.

”We are not the first to realise the potential of this, but you have to have the best technological solution. Ours differs from others in several ways, most notably that you can bookmark pages, so if you are in the middle of a book it is easy to go back to the last point you were reading," Denize explains.

"The advantage we have over the giant publishers is that the more creative individuals and authors are not always the ones who can make a success out of a business."

According to Denize, the business sensibilities of Platify's founders also give it a leg up on traditional publishers.

"Publishing is still seen by a large majority of people in it as an art form rather than a business, and profit making is not the first priority. This suits people like us and makes it a ripe area for our kind venture," he explains.

A potential downfall of any new venture in this business is the lack of a proven business model. Denize is aware of this but feels that someone will get it right sooner or later.

For the moment Platify has started with academic books in the United States, where one third of the global book market is based.

”The choice of market is an obvious one, because you have a homogeneous population of over 300 million, all speaking the same language. This makes our launch market choice easy, but as we grow we will branch out,” says Denize.

The trio tested tested the platform live last month on their own free service Litfy.

The site, which is primarily aimed at students, contains about 2,000 titles for which the copyright has expired.

Once they can test the success of the project, they can branch out and offer publishers as well as both published and new, unpublished authors a sales platform for their work.

So far, the books on Litfy only be read via the web, but in this month they plan to launch the service as an app on Iphone and Android.

Standing out in what promises to be a crowded market will be vital, according to Denize.

”First and foremost, we decided we had to develop a solution that is simple and quick," he explains.

"You can make margin notes and add your own bookmarks, but you can also share lists and notes with other users and users can also discuss topics and texts with each other on forums."

Revenue will come from a combination of advertising and subscriptions, just like Spotify, says Denize.

They expect to be able to offer the platform on a ”white label” basis as well as under their own brand.

”What makes it so exciting is that we are in an industry going through change on an almost daily basis and nobody can really predict with great certainty where it will go next," says Denize.

"We want to see this project through and show that if it is done the right way, it can be successful."

Related links:

Geoff Mortimore (mortimore.geoff@gmail.com)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:27 September 15, 2011 by riose
Soon: "Spotify for Spotifies"
21:21 September 15, 2011 by swedejane
omg...not only is the business idea dumb, but the name is worse. Platify? It sounds like a something you do with a platypus.
15:56 September 16, 2011 by jpenney
Governments had the same idea a while ago. I think they called it a 'library'...
Today's headlines
Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop
File photo: Simon Cunningham/Flickr

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop

Swedish investment giant Investor on Wednesday said its first-quarter profits slumped by a quarter, underlining Sweden's vulnerability to international instability. READ () »

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
Advertisement:
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

720
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com