Publification aims at Amazon, Google and Apple with amazing HTML5 eBook app [Springboard]

Perhaps one of the most interesting new startups to emerge from the Springboard accelerator programme at its first investor day today has been Publification.

Right now there is a problem with ebooks. They are files. They are not dynamic. You need a reader. Not all readers work with all files. Plus, publishers are in hoc to the platforms like Kindle and iBooks. It’s a total pain, for publishers and for writers. Publishers don’t have any control over what is promoted and don’t get enough data about the customers. The companies that win are the platforms, Amazon and Apple and the rest.

Publification disrupts that model by creating an ebook reader for browsers, creating a beautiful reading experience through an HTML5 app inside a browser. That means it can access 2 billion existing devices. The HTML5 based Browserbook reader automatically fits any screen size and having seen it myself I can say it actually works extremely well, including swiping on an iPad. No files to download, no software to install, no dedicated e-reader devices.

Publification has a number of interesting security features to stop piracy. Because of its HTML5 nature you cannot ‘view source’ and just steal the book’s text. Plus, the app uses Facebook or Twitter authentification. If you wanted to share a book, you’d have to hand over your Facebook password.

The app supports rich media like audio and video.

The business model is selling a license to the technology to publishers or a retailers. For self-publishers, Publification will offer a web based drag ‘n drop editor. For self-publishing authors, the startup allows any author to upload a manuscript and start promoting it, very easily.

Plus, because we are talking about HMTL5, Publification could offer “In book purchasing” so people can access special areas of a book, like premium content. It can also cache content for offline browsing. (Not unlike the FT’s HTML 5 app). Since it’s tied with social accounts, reading is synced between iPad and iPhone etc

Competitors such as Google’s eReader won’t sell as a white label to publishers and won’t be as flexible (just like Apple). And they are not focusing on the self-publishing. While 24Symbols has a browser reader technology, most publishers don’t think this ‘Spotify-like’ approach of ‘books as a service’ will work.

It’s also not a surprise that the Publification technology was developed in tech-powerhouse Estonia by founders Marius Arras, Rait Ojasaar and Janek Priimann.