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Another {Flat}Leaf Turned

Fall Leaf

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It has been a little more than a year since we started on the FlatLeaf journey. As is the case with many startups, FlatLeaf set out to solve a problem close to the founder’s heart: sharing, discussing and getting personal recommendations on books.

All this is easy on physical books, but when it comes to eBooks it is literally impossible. We discussed many ways of solving this issue and decided on what has become FlatLeaf - an eBook subscription service with a social network encouraging content exploration through reviews, sharing, discussion and personalized social recommendations.

One of the main reasons for selecting the subscription model for the service was the ability to fix what we found to be a problem in the physical model: authors weren’t getting paid for performance. If everybody borrowed books from each, other how would the authors ever get paid? We figured that a more honest approach would be to pay a royalty each time someone read a title.

The number of requests for pre-signup for our service has indicated that readers are ready to digitally read, share and discuss their favorite books. Unfortunately, recent events in the industry, as well as the lack of traction with the publishers, have made it impossible for us to continue this project.

We would like to thank our advisors for all their patience and great input, O’Reilly for inviting us to be part of the 2012 Tools of Change startup showcase, all of our beta-testers who came with great feedback which sadly no one will see and finally all the many people who signed up pre-release.

We hope someone else will be able to pull this off, but most of all we hope that all of you who showed an interest in FlatLeaf will remember that good books are only available if authors get paid.

As for us, we don’t know what we will do next, but one thing is for sure - it will be fun.

You can still email us if you have any questions or feedback.

For now “Keep on Reading!”

Personalized Social Recommendations

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We had a great time at the Tools of Change conference and got a lot of positive feedback from everyone we talked to.

However one of the features people like the most was our Personalized Social Recommendations. Unlike Amazon we don’t find it very helpful to see 2000 reviews on a book that somehow always ends up equaling a 4 star rating. Instead we believe that the rating of a book is better suited if it is tailored to the individual because we are all different. We do have similarities with the people we associate ourselves with and those similarities are the power of our Personalized Social Recommendations.

We have taken some of the feedback and suggestions and adding it to our Personalized Social Recommendations so it will be even better.

We promise that you will all be in for a treat!

Tools of Change Conference

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We are excited to announce that FlatLeaf has been chosen as one of the Startups featured in this year’s Startup Showcase!

The TOC conference runs from February 13-15 in New York. We are looking forward to meeting as many publishers and partners during those 3 days as possible, so if you haven’t already please contact us to setup a time to talk to one of our staff.

Books in Browsers

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Our founder Mogens Nielsen will be attending Books in Browsers October 27-28. He will be speaking at the ignite event on Thursday evening so don’t miss that.

We are always looking for partners and nice people so if you are in the book business and also attending this event don’t hesitate stopping by and saying hello.

Help Borders Employees

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Unfortunately as you probably already read, Borders was not saved from closure which means that 11,000 Borders employees are out of a job and looking.

Please read this post and note that we are talking about a lot of different vocational skills that are available. Borders employed drivers, retailers, barista’s, web developers, marketing, sales, just to name a few.

If you can help in any way getting 1,2 or 10 of these great people hired it would be awesome. They have setup a job board on Posterous where you can post any jobs that you might have a need of getting filled.

Let us once again show what the power of the web can do and get as many re-employed as possible.

Number of e-Readers doubled in 6 months.

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For anyone following the eBook market, the growth of e-Readers and Tablets will not come as a big surprise. However the recent study performed by Pew shows an explosive growth in both e-Readers and Tablets over a 6-month period.

There has been a lot of talk about Apple’s iPad sales, so it was expected that the Tablet market would show some good numbers. But even with some good numbers from both Amazon on the Kindle and B&N’s Nook over the holiday, most would probably not have expected the same level of growth on the e-Reader market. According to the study 12% of American households own an e-Reader and 8% own a Tablet. That is up from 6% for e-Readers and 5% for Tablets from November 2010. Although only 2277 people were surveyed, the numbers show that the e-Readers have not slowed down by getting some competition from the Tablets, but rather gained even more momentum.

A final interesting note is that 25% of those that own an e-Reader also got a Tablet, whereas 37.5% of Tablet owners also have an e-Reader.

Maybe Angry Birds is too much of a distraction.

First Leaf

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Since we just added our blog “Another {Flat}Leaf turned” it is only appropriate that we also make a post.

We are still working on FlatLeaf internals and hope that we will be able to launch soon.

There are many facets to FlatLeaf and we are taking our time to make sure that all of them get the attention needed to make the site a destination for anyone with a passion for eBooks.