Book Site Shares Ad Revenue Wealth

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Bookface.com, San Francisco, last week launched a Web site that lets users read entire books online for free or purchase the book through a link to Amazon.com.


Engage Media will serve banner advertisements on the Bookface site, according to Len Liptak, director of marketing at Bookface. Every book will have Engage ads, and Bookface will share revenue gained from cost-per-thousand impressions with Engage and the book publisher. Liptak would not specify the pricing structure or the type of ads that would be featured.


"Typically, a consumer will go to the bookstore, look at 10 books and only buy three. Under this arrangement, publishers of the seven books returned to the shelf are not compensated," he said. "But with Bookface.com, even if a book is looked at, but not purchased, the publisher will be rewarded."


The site initially will offer readers consumer publications, including fiction, nonfiction and self-help books. Ultimately, the plan is to offer password-protected analyst reports and online magazine subscriptions. HarperCollins, Penguin Putnam, Random House, St. Martin's Press, Time Warner Trade Publishing and other national publishers are in the process of drawing up agreements with Bookface to provide their content. The company also is working with small publishers.


Bookface launched in response to an increasing consumer demand for online literature. "When Steven King's e-book, Riding The Bullet, was initially released, it experienced 500,000 downloads in the first 40 hours," Liptak said. "In that case, consumers first had to locate the book and download special software to access the book."


Liptak said publishers historically have been wary of placing their books online, because of potential security issues. Bookface only serves readers a few pages at a time, making it difficult for the reader to copy the entire book.


To spread the word about the new site, Bookface is running marketing campaigns, viral marketing such as tell-a-friend e-mails, and guerilla marketing, including launch parties. The company also is considering banner ads and affiliate marketing campaigns later this year, although Liptak said no decisions have been made yet.
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