From The Times February 16, 2009
By Lilly Peel

As an SAS soldier, Andy McNab was used to being thrust into unknown, hostile territory to carry out special operations. Now the author-turned-businessman has set his sights on a new terrain: the burgeoning e-book market. The author of Bravo Two Zero plans to take on heavyweights such as Amazon and Sony to win a slice of the action.

GoSpoken, the audio book company Mr McNab co-founded in 2007, will announce tomorrow that it has struck a deal with Research in Motion (RIM), the maker of the BlackBerry, to supply e-books for its smartphones. Under a deal between RIM, Vodafone and GoSpoken, a GoSpoken e-reader application will be launched for BlackBerry Storm and BlackBerry Bold handsets for Vodafone customers in the UK. GoSpoken expects to roll the service out to other networks and handset makers soon.
GoSpoken is talking to Nokia about providing the service on their phones, she said. The company has already signed content deals with several book publishers, including Penguin, Random House and HarperCollins. Many titles are already available as audio books to Vodafone and 3 customers in the UK.
GoSpoken, a private company, has received millions in backing from Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party and millionaire businessman, in November last year. GoSpoken has yet to make a profit but Mr McNab believes that the audio and e-book market will continue to grow. “With my evangelical head I think yes, this is going to be huge,” he said, “but the practical head says wait and see how it goes.”

Source: Times Online


SAS soldier turned best-selling author Andy McNab is extending his reach further into the mobile market through a deal with phone operator 3.

McNab founded the audiobook-for-mobile firm GoSpoken in April last year and has been working on a series of deals to increase the number of distribution outlets and titles on offer.

The latest deal with 3 will add GoSpoken’s inventory to Planet 3, the free entertainment and information service available on all the operator’s handsets.

As well as a dozen military adventure novels by McNab, GoSpoken offers more than 1,000 titles from authors including Stephen King, Ian McEwan and Patricia Cornwell. 3 customers can browse and buy titles in either text or audio format and, says 3, download each book “in minutes” over the operator’s 3G network. They can then either read the book using their phone or listen to it. Books cost £5 to £10, though titles can be downloaded in sections for £1 to £3 each. The cost is added to the subscriber’s 3 mobile bill.

“Since leaving the armed forces, books have become my life, so making them easily accessible in this way is a natural progression,” said McNab.

“Using the strength of the 3 UK network millions of people can access the latest books in seconds, regardless of whether you are sitting on the bus or abseiling through embassy windows.”

GoSpoken has signed content deals with Penguin, Random House and HarperCollins, and launched to Vodafone customers in October.

Source: The Guardian.co.uk



This was in a lot of articles but I’m quoting The Telegraph for having the most catchy title.

01 Nov 2008

Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, is investing millions in an e-commerce venture launched by Andy McNab, the former SAS soldier, that sells virtual books to mobile phones.

The millionaire businessman and philanthropist has taken a minority stake in GoSpoken.com, a platform that Mr McNab launched earlier this year. The service allows mobile phone users to access audio or text versions of books over their handsets.

Lord Ashcroft is believed to have invested “single digit millions” in return for the stake, according to executives close to the company.

Although the men seem an unlikely pairing, they are both keen military authors. Mr McNab’s works include Bravo Two Zero and Seven Troop, while Lord Ashcroft has written books including Special Forces Heroes: Extraordinary True Stories of Daring and Valour, for which Mr McNab wrote the foreword.

Mr McNab said: “The commitment of Lord Ashcroft and his investment team reinforces the potential of GoSpoken. They add another level of skill and experience that will help develop the product and our expansion into international markets”.

GoSpoken.com has signed a partnership in Britain with Vodafone. Tony Lynch, who co-founded the company with Mr McNab, said that it has signed up major British publishers as well as the BBC. The e-commerce firm is also planning to expand into Germany in the near future.

Lord Ashcroft said that the company has good growth potential. “It is early days, but we believe they have already in place the right people, the established platform and the necessary content to build a very successful business,” he said.

Source: The Telegraph


Grey Man’s Land asked Andy about Seven Troop, Brute Force and the other projects he’s working on, or any in development.

Andy pleasantly surprised us by replying to our questions on audio!!

Almost half an hour he talks, exclusively for us!!

It’s absolutely great and we LOVE the compliment at the end of the interview. So thank you so much Andy !!



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


There’s another Newsletter! This time Andy tells us that Seven Troop can be downloaded as an e-book to your mobile phone. He gives away 2 free chapters which you can download from a test site. The newsletter says ‘the first 2 chapters’ but I only got one… of the audio book. Maybe that is me not getting this new technology?? Anyway, Andy narrated the audiobook himself so I am not complaining!

[edit Lynn: It did work a few days later so I managed to download the 2 free chapters of the e-book]

He also writes that he just got back from Afghanistan and that a Facebook fansite will be launched in the next few days.

Last he writes about running a competition to find ‘the best unsung heroes’.

Andy: “So tell me why your mate is an unsung hero – a single act of heroism, a regular all round good guy or maybe he is the company clown who keeps you laughing when times are tough? – Before Christmas I’m going to pick the best story and you could each win £500 of vouchers to spend on whatever you want on play.com. Can’t be bad! Go to www.McNabHeroes.com

Mmm, I think I’ll pass on that one – not sure my heroes fit the profile of the target group here 😉 Still it will be nice to read the stories that are going to be send in. I wonder if he publishes those??