Is this an Amazon for ebooks?by Rob H
With a passion for innovation Kate Pickering has worked with media140 over the last year to highlight how real-time technology is impacting how we work today.
She has taken a break from her day job where she heads up an Innovation Manchester Boardroom training and event programme to give her thoughts on the growth of an industry that allows anyone to write, create and publish their own book – myebook
Long gone are the joys of consumer engagement experiments by maverick executives. Brave brands made themselves vulnerable in the exciting new world of realtime and mostly won. Not normally known for their agility big boys like Coca Cola became the poster corps of success. Listening to Heads of Social Media like Coke’s Adam Brown stating ‘our philosophy is to fish where the fish are’ companies a plenty followed suit, copycatting to find the real thing and boost profits. I’m not disputing the importance of listening to clients but lack of originality is making realtime’s power superficial and making me cynical.
I want to throw the light back onto the ingenuity of the user. There are many impressive applications out there and many articles championing best top tens. But for me it’s not just what a tool or application does it’s how somebody uses it that is impressive.
I recently met Sy Whitehall, MD and co-founder of www.myebook.com, an Amazon for ebooks. Anyone can sign up to the community, create their own ebook and sell it alongside bestsellers. Its simple drag and drop interface means you can incorporate text copy, images, audio or video. Cue citizen journalists the world over who are serving their communities by providing local knowledge with specialist content. The paywall kicks in wherever the user wants it to, whether their creation is a freebie for the greater good or a private and pricey training manual for top brass corporate clients; the choice belongs with the user. Myebook.com smacks of potential for the entrepreneur and only 18 months after its launch is attracting them by the bucket full.
Don’t Send Postcards is billed as the ‘worlds first digital film release via myebook’ (sic). More impressive is its manipulation of the myebook.com platform to deliver great content by reaching an untapped audience. Indie filmmakers struggle to find distribution, promotion is costly and too often rushes are left unwanted and unedited. Sy would be the first to admit they did not develop myebook.com for the indie film market but is justifiably proud of the development.
The film is the untold story of soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq nine years after the wars began. (money raised goes to the ‘help the heroes’ campaign). It’s a clever model – free behind the scenes text and video with Mark Ashmore, the director and producer, leads you towards the paywall to watch the film. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit I admire, the ‘what can this tool do for me’ attitude that deserves plaudits.
To expound on their drive and prove you can be productively creative, ‘Future Artists’, the publishing company behind the ebook, is a collaboration of creatives who found each other through myebook.com. Alongside Mark are graphic designer Claire O’Connell and illustrator Ben Tallon. They formed with the intention to play with and discover the strengths of the platform, to control it rather than letting it control them.
Great social media applications are intuitive; they build on what we know and give us ways to do them differently. It’s those who ask how can I do what they know in a different way that will affect real change in their business.
Can social media improve your bottom line? Undoubtedly. But rather than ask how do I use social media like them? Why not ask what can social media do for me? Don’t try and emulate the big boys, understand and make the web and social tools your own, only you will know when this is it.