Launched in 2012, JukePop Serials is a crowd sourced discovery platform with a staff of three and an unusual focus. This service finds compelling stories by good writers and serves the best ones up for users to read and rate. Users can browse the stories chapter by chapter in JukePop's apps for Android (Google Play), iPad/iPhone (iTunes), or on the JukePop website. The stories are free to read, and registered members can vote and comment on the stories.
If that description reminds you of Wattpad, you're not alone. JukePop shares many of the characteristics of its larger and better known competitor, but it also adds an element of curation which Wattpad has made strictly optional.
I can't see how many readers have joined but JukePop does boast that they have over 1,000 contributing authors and a reader base in the tens of thousands. That's a relatively small number compared to Wattpad or even Red Room, the author site which Wattpad acquired this summer. This could explain the shift to focus on a new market; JukePop is going to focus on a market which Wattpad isn't directly addressing.
In fact, they've already shifted their focus. JukePop has been running a pilot with the Santa Clara County Public Library since April 2014, developing its platform so it would better serve libraries.
And now JukePop has launched a KickStarter campaign so they can expand their efforts. JukePop is trying to raise $15,000, and they plan to spend $10,000 to streamline their software, with the remaining $5,000 used to launch the service to libraries.
They've raised about $4,500 so far, and I bet that they will be able to raise the rest. Crowd sourced ebooks are a hot topic right now, what with Amazon planning to launch their own platform, so this past week was exactly the right time to launch a campaign.
But will JukePop have any success on the market? I don't know, but if they stick around for long this is going to be an interesting time in the library ebook market.
In addition to the big boys that "sell" ebooks (OverDrive, 3M Cloud Library, and Ingram MyiLibrary) and the publishers who rent their content on an annual license, there are also several alternative service providers. Freading and Hoopla, for example, offer pay per use models, while Biblioboard is a nonprofit that offers a number of services, including a discovery service for self-published authors.
And into that maelstrom goes JukePop. Will it be successful?
It has no appeal to me as a reader, but I can see some of the reasons why it might appeal to institutions like libraries (or schools, for that matter). As noted in one of my source articles, the DRM used by existing library ebook providers gets in the way of users. JukePop says that their ebooks will be DRM-free, and that will make them much easier to load on to ereaders and other mobile devices.