A new bookstore called Openbooks has been getting a lot of attention over the past few weeks for its unusual business model. Openbooks has taken the pay what you want model popularized by content bundle sites like Humble Bundle and Story Bundle and made it the centerpiece of a retail store.
The site has been operation since January (it now carries 200 titles), and the media is still trying to figure out what we're looking at and how it could be used. I'm still thinking it over myself, but in the meantime Forbes has taken a swing at it.
Trevor Clawson thinks that readers could use Openbooks to find new undiscovered authors:
So how to you market and sell new, edgy or challenging authors in the online book market.
Polish startup OpenBooks.com believes one answer is to let readers download first and pay later via an online bookstore populated with its own authors. And more importantly customers who buy from OpenBooks’ online store can pay what they want. “Readers can download an eBook for free in EPUB, MOBI or PDF, read it, copy the file and share it with their friends and decide if and how much they want to pay based on what they feel the book is worth,” says the company’s CTO Tomasz Staniak
While Openbooks could be used this way, I just don't see it happening.
Clawson is proposing that readers find the store, commit to buying from the store, commit to the unusual business model, and then go through the effort of loading the ebooks on to their ereader or mobile device.
That's a pretty tall order of business, just to find a new author. Wouldn't it make more sense for a reader to look for new authors where they already buy ebooks - for example, in the Kindle Store?
That would require far less work, and there is certainly no shortage of authors with free ebooks in the major ebookstores. Can you think of a good reason readers would want to put in the extra effort?
So what do you think of OpenBooks?