3. April 2012–
Hack days are a time-proven way to generate new ideas and apps - and Readmill's weekend session was no exception, kicking up everything from a Readmill Twitter bot to a gentrification giraffe Tumblr roll.
A group of about 25 gathered in Berlin for the day, including guests Anthony Velodkin (founder of The Hype Machine) and Ian Hogarth and Michelle You from Soundkick. The results are now up on the Readmill blog.
As well as a Ruby code to easily extract data from ePub files and a number of add-ons for the Readmill platform, there were a few stand-alone gems - our pick is Shumeng Ye's deceptively simple book versus video battle generator. Type in a word or phrase and it'll generate a recommendation for each.
What's next for Readmill?
On a more serious note, the e-publishing industry is changing quickly and coming up with new ways to service readers and, eventually, monetise the platform will be one of the keys to Readmill's success.
Last year proved that sharing reading experiences online could work and "what we're focusing now on is basically making Readmill available for everyone," co-founder Henrik Berggren said yesterday. He's reluctant to give dates but an iPhone launch is a sure bet this year - an Android launch is also likely.
And monetisation plans? "We're working continuously inside the team and together with our investors on how to best make money off the stuff we're doing," Berggren said. "There are definitely lots of ways to do it and there are going to be many more turnarounds in the industry before we settle on something."
An industry on the move...
The Association of American Publishers' latest figures show massive growth in e-book net sales revenue - for adult's books, an increase of 49.4 per cent to $99.5m in January 2012 compared to $66.6m in January 2011. For children's and young adult's books, the increase is 475.1 per cent to $22.6m over the same period.
All that may show is a previously untapped market - and as the Verge points out, e-book sales growth is not necessarily happening at the expense of traditional books. Overall hardcover and paperback revenue also increased, albeit on a smaller scale and despite some trend away from paperbacks.
Whatever the cause, it's good news for the likes of Readmill. Read our December interview for more on the startup and its backers (including Soundcloud's Eric Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung).