2008
10.06

Vodafone Books on Mobile has strategy for mobile books

An idea born from a conversation in a pub will today become an international business when Vodafone launches a service bringing books to mobile phones.

Under Vodafone Books on Mobile, books are expected to cost between £5 and £15 and any purchases will be added to monthly Vodafone bills.

The service is a partnership between Vodafone and GoSpoken. com, a website dedicated to putting books on mobiles co-founded and co-funded by Andy McNab, the soldier-turned novelist, and Tony Lynch, now the managing director of the company.

“I met Tony through a mutual friend,” Mr McNab said of their initial discussion last year. “We met for a drink and were playing about with how we could combine story-telling and technology. Finally he said: ‘Let’s have a look at books on mobiles.’ ” The pair launched their idea with three 15-minute short stories by the former SAS man, which they recorded and released on iTunes. “They became the three topselling audio stories on iTunes for three to four months,” Mr McNab said. “We thought. . . the concept’s really working, so we started to look seriously at mobile phones.”

Since then the pair, who each own 50 per cent of the business, have signed up every leading publisher in Britain, including Penguin, Random House and HarperCollins, and are in the process of signing the big European names.

High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology, which provides faster data speeds, means that a three-hour audio book can be downloaded in three minutes. And as mobile screens get bigger and better it gets easier to read a book on them.

“Sometimes we wonder if it’s just us that think this is great and it won’t catch on,” Mr McNab said, “but there’s not a single person we’ve gone to – a publisher, retailer or operator – who hasn’t got it.”

Mr McNab began his writing career with his first novel Bravo Two Zero in 1993, based on his experiences during the first Gulf War.

Source: Times Online

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