Blockbuster business: "We're building the Disney of the 21st century"

In partnership with The European Commission
Blockbuster business: "We're building the Disney of the 21st century"
By Paul Hackett
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Business Planet speaks to the man behind the world's first reader-powered book publisher

Business Planet speaks to the man behind the world's first reader-powered book publisher

Just like Uber and Airbnb disrupted the taxi and hotel industry respectively, Inkitt is attempting to shake up the world of publishing.

The Berlin based publisher says it is able to choose bestselling stories using an algorithm. Aspiring authors can post their work on the company's online platform for free where it can initially be read for free. The best performers are then offered a publishing deal. In addition to unearthing talented writers that might never get the chance to publish their work, the startup is also pioneering a new form of storytelling through its immersive reading app Galatea.

Business Planet met Inkitt's founder and CEO Ali Albazaz, to find out how the company is attempting to revolutionise the way we read books.

How is Inkitt revolutionising publishing?

"Five years ago, Inkitt started with a core belief that every author in the world should have an equal chance to succeed. And our mission is to find hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. And this works, with the platform and technology that we have built we were able to actually achieve this. For example, our number one author is Sapir, and she is a 24-year-old who lives in a village outside Jerusalem. And she was discovered by Inkitt and now her story is selling faster than Harry Potter on Galatea. Same for our second biggest author, Simran, who lives in Odisha, a province in India, where only 64 percent of the women can read and write. And she's now a successful best-selling author, and that's awesome!"

How is your immersive reading app Galatea changing the way readers interact with books?

"Galatea is something between book and TV. It's a format somewhere in between, and it means that you tap to see one paragraph at a time and you can hear sound effects when something is happening, somebody is knocking on the door, you hear the sound effect, there is music, you can feel the heartbeat of the protagonist with the haptic feedback off your iPhone. And everybody who has experienced Galatea says that they'd never want to go back to regular reading. Some people described it to me that it feels to them like going from a colour TV back to a black and white TV. So nobody wants to do that."

What are your future plans?

"We're building the Disney of the 21st century. What I mean with that is a company that is very pragmatic and data driven and can find the best stories and storytellers worldwide wherever they are being told, and find them, discover them and turn them into big blockbusters and repeat this entire process on a very high frequency."

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