Information Today
Volume 17, Issue 7 • July/August 2000 Launches with Ad-Based Business Model

Bookface, Inc. has announced the launch of (, a fully functional beta Web site that is the first to use its new proprietary technology. The site delivers whole books and excerpts to readers directly over standard Web browsers. According to the company, is designed for both interaction and access—book lovers will use Web site content and functionality to discover, discuss, and read books.

The Bookface delivery solution offers content providers a secure method for publishing their content directly on the Internet, enabling them to reach the entire Internet audience while protecting the integrity of their work and gaining appropriate credit and compensation.

Major publishers, including HarperCollins, Penguin Putnam, Random House, St. Martin’s Press, and Time Warner Trade Publishing, intend to provide Bookface with book content. The Web site currently offers books ranging from modern fiction to classic works.

“Overwhelming demand for Stephen King’s novella is proof that readers want to explore exciting books, whether those books are delivered in printed or electronic mediums,” said Tammy Deuster, CEO and co-founder of Bookface. “Bookface makes that exploration completely accessible—essentially providing an ever-present and convenient way to find a book without a special hardware device, without a download, and without even requiring a credit card. A user simply logs on to our Web site and starts to read.”

“Bookface does not deliver e-books,” said Peter Mattis, chief technology officer and co-founder of Bookface. “It’s an on-demand reading system where book pages are dynamically loaded in the browser while you read. There’s no download and yet no wait between pages. Since our book security solution works with standard browsers, Windows users, Mac users, and Unix users will have instant and unencumbered access to books. Starting today, we have the ability to deliver books to over 100 million Internet users.”

“The Internet represents enormous potential for book publishers. Bookface delivers a security solution that allows publishers to maintain control of our books, while enabling us to pursue important opportunities for us and for our authors,” said Phyllis Grann, CEO of Penguin Putnam.

“We are intrigued by Bookface as a new merchandising and distribution vehicle for books,” said Steve Cohen, senior vice president at St. Martin’s Press. “We are exploring Bookface as a way to promote our books online, with the expectation of gaining added revenue for both the publishing house and our authors.”

The Web site will provide free books for Internet users to browse and read while paying authors and publishers for each page read. The Internet electronic publishing platform allows Bookface to introduce a potentially lucrative advertising revenue stream into the book industry. Books are currently the only form of popular media without a major advertising component. Music, for example, is a $30 billion industry, with $15 billion from end-user sales and $15 billion from advertising support. The Internet is interactive and immediate—providing a great advertising platform—while books provide very sticky, high-quality content, which is attractive for readers.

“Advertising revenue is an innovative way to pay publishers and authors for helping readers find books. The traditional way is for the publisher to pay a bookstore to place a book in front of a reader,” said Robert Baensch, director of the NYU Center for Publishing and a Bookface Advisory Board member. “The combination of Internet technology and a truly innovative business model makes Bookface an extremely exciting company with the ability to deliver on their vision.”

“Bookface is one of the most impressive Internet start-ups I have seen,” said Laurence J. Kirshbaum, chairman and CEO of Time Warner Trade Publishing. “Bookface offers an innovative and powerful solution to publishers and authors who are interested in getting their books in front of readers in a smart, direct, and efficient way.” Time Warner Trade Publishing has an investment in, and Kirshbaum is a member of the company’s Advisory Board.

According to the company, the proprietary Bookface technology and delivery solution will work flexibly with any business model. Content providers can charge access fees, subscriptions, per-use charges, or leverage ad revenues to gain compensation from their content.

Source: Bookface, Inc., San Francisco, 415/957-1400;

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