In an accomplishment to accomplish ebook gift-giving added ad-lib and fun, Los Angeles-based startup Livrada is partnering with Target (s TGT) to advertise allowance cards for bestselling ebook titles like 50 Shades of Grey and Gone Girl in the chain’s 1,771 food nationwide.
The pilot program, which is initially accessible for Kindle (s AMZN) and Nook (s BKS) and will be accessible on added platforms by the end of the year, launches on Sunday, July 15 with six books. Five are appear by Random House: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, 44 Charles Street by Danielle Steel, Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson. The sixth book, State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, is appear by HarperCollins (s NWS).
The ebooks are awash like allowance cards and will be begin in Target’s electronics section, a the e-readers. (Target no best sells Kindles, but it carries added e-readers, like the Nook.) Here’s how it works: A customer buys a agenda for a specific title. Target takes a cut and Livrada gets the rest. The customer (or allowance agenda recipient) goes to Livrada’s website to actuate the allowance agenda and accept whether he wants the book for Kindle or Nook. Livrada buys the book anon from Barnes & Noble or Amazon and sends it to the consumer’s e-reader.
Ebook gift-giving is still in aboriginal stages, but it about happens absolutely online. Back you buy a Kindle book as a allowance for addition else, for instance, they acquisition out back they get an email. Livrada wants to accomplish it added physical. “Email-driven alms is boring,” Livrada cofounder and CEO Leonard Chen, aforetime a arch director of agenda action and business development at Warner Music Group, told me.
A customer can acutely buy one of Livrada’s ebook cards for himself, but Chen thinks best bodies will accord the cards as presents: “You can give your acquaintance a allowance if you apperceive they accept an e-reader but you don’t apperceive which [brand].”
“We’re attractive for new means of facilitating alms of ebooks,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, arch agenda administrator at HarperCollins, “and we attending advanced to seeing how this new account can extend our ability to a added ambit of consumers.”
Random House and HarperCollins pay Livrada business fees on the advanced end. Livrada additionally collects associate fees from Amazon and Barnes & Noble for apropos sales.
Livrada’s cofounder and administrator is John Tantum, the architect and above admiral of Virgin Mobile USA. The aggregation is currently self-funded and Chen says it is not actively fundraising yet — admitting that could become all-important after this year, back the aggregation hopes to aggrandize to added retailers, advertise added titles and add abutment for platforms like iPad (s AAPL). Livrada is in discussions with added big-six and abate publishers about abacus their books to the program.
Many consumers still don’t apperceive that it’s accessible to accord ebooks as gifts. Publisher Open Road ran a anniversary attack to try to brainwash them about the action aftermost year, but best bodies still aloof buy ebooks for themselves. Livrada’s cards could accomplish the action added ad-lib and physical. The cards themselves, which accent the books’ covers, attending acceptable and consumers may be tempted to aces them up. It’s possible, though, that they will still be abashed about what the cards are for.
Companies accept experimented with affairs “physical” ebooks before, but accept not gotten actual far. Enthrill, a Canadian company, activated such a affairs aftermost year and is now affairs its ebook cards in 102 food in Alberta. Livrada’s focus on gifting, and the cards’ availability nationwide, could advice the abstraction get off the ground.
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