The startup initially launched with the idea of creating enhanced ebooks for the iPhone (this later expanded to include the iPad, Fire tablets, Android). By early 2011 that idea had proven uneconomical, so Vook pivoted to producing enhanced ebooks for clients (and distributing the sometimes voluminous files).
That idea proved unworkable by early 2012, at which point Vook pivoted to emphasizing distribution. Over the next 3 years Vook continued to build on the idea that it was a services company.
Vook bought Booklr for its real-time data and analytics service in early 2014. Vook has also built internal tools and services, and in late 2014 Vook bought the failed hybrid digital publisher Byliner and (part of) Coliloquy, a niche ebook app developer/publisher.
After a year of acquisitions that included the online literary boutique Byliner and the e-book data analysis engine Booklr, e-book creator Vook has relaunched itself as Pronoun. The new company is a soup-to-nuts self-publishing platform comprising the combined technological tools of Byliner, Booklr and Vook. Declaring itself “a new model for authors,” Pronoun offers its services free of charge and gives authors a 100% royalty rate.
“Pronoun is committed to changing the publishing model by making it open, and by making it free,” said Josh Brody, Pronoun CEO. Brody said the new platform is the culmination of “a year of acquisitions and building a new team,” that will offer “a new kind of platform that empowers authors.”
Pronoun’s new site and service are not yet open to the public, so it is difficult to say whether the claim of 100% royalties is real or not. But the company says that it going to subsist on revenue from its current legacy businesses in data conversion and sales tracking. It is just with the new platform that Pronoun plans to go completely free.
This suggests that Pronoun is going to be more freemium than free, but we won’t know for sure until we get a look inside.