Round 10
Winner
Rabid Reader E-book Platform
by

Token-based e-book platform unlocks global access to granular content as needed

Budget request:  
*
WebsiteCode

Project Stage

Maturity

Category

Marketplaces

Based in

Canada

Team size

Active since

2011
Products & Services

Our existing readers buy our PDF-based, DRM-free, e-books and must download them to their computers to access the content. Rabid Reader will bring this content to the foreground by presenting it through a web-based reading platform that they can subscribe to by buying reading tokens. Our experience in business, publishing, development, and communities will help us deliver a usable project.


This helps make the reading experience unique in three areas:

  1. Micro-transactions - using tokens from their personal account lets them choose how and when to pay for content they need.
  2. Micro-content - Instead of buying whole books, readers access sub-sections, chapters, or even just paragraphs of content that they need the most, using variable amounts of tokens based on size of content.
  3. Equal access - our content enables under-developed regions to take control of their land and planning processes with free mapping tools. Rabid Reader will give them even more ways to pay and trade for access to the material outside of the traditional purchasing systems.


Each of these benefits ties into Stellar in distinct ways:

  1. Purchasing books and/or tokens using XLM or trading for the token on Stellar. We are already experimenting with standing up our own token LOC8 and ready to go the next level.
  2. Micro-transactions using these tokens directly on Stellar will help us keep track of access rights and receive payments with reduced overhead and increased flexibility.
  3. We expect there is a Stellar-like approach to breaking down our content into small pieces and tying them to digital assets in even more way, but need help figuring out the architectural part of that (NFTs? Book content-backed tokens?).
No items found.
Previous Project(s)
No items found.
Progress so far

We are in the planning stages and looking for others to join or fund us.


However, we are a real company and know this market well, having sold over 20,000 books/e-books to customers around the world. Our revenue helps fund other community projects and fund needy students to speak at events.


We have the plan and skills to build something more advanced than just an e-reader by tying it into Stellar.  We’ve created a token on Stellar using Python APIs to gain familiarity and are planning the next steps to make it active and test. Our funding will come from incremental revenue, which will take a long time without some outside help and shared interests from the community.


We are building on the initial success of our business to help improve the reading experience for everyone. We use existing open source technology (Linux, LaTex, etc) to build our books and need another publishing layer on top of that that others can also use.

Goals

In six months we want to have at least a beta that handles token usage, but our stretch goals are a little larger depending on resources:

  • a beta platform that handles our tokens as a form of payment, for internal testing
  • an open source project hosted online for other stakeholders to try
  • a scripted workflow to load our existing LaTex, PDF and/or RST books into the platform
  • five educational and five personal testers trying the platform and providing feedback
  • a solid understanding of other Stellar-related technology enabled options for future projects
To get there, we  will use our requested budget of  
*
  to:
  1. Project resources - we need to hire for DevOps management and Application development. We will look for young professionals that have the experience but also want to contribute to open source and learn Stellar tech.
  2. Stellar support - we understand the premise of Stellar use cases in general but need more guidance on taking it into production.
  3. Hosting and delivery - We will use our current online sales system (basic Stripe integration) and extend it with the new service once it is available. We will beta test it with our core customer base (educators and professionals) to ensure it meets their needs and roll it out for all users after testing. We have 5,900 online account holders and 2,100 subscribers to our newsletter and will use that to find more testers.
Overview

THE PROBLEM

Today’s e-book readers need more flexibility and affordability options. Buying a full PDF or DRM’d Kindle book using a credit card is not an innovative solution for all users everywhere.


Currently, our thousands of customers, are forced to buy a full book when they may only need part of it for their research/training. We will use a Stellar-based token system to let readers purchase smaller pieces of content, from anywhere in our catalogue of book titles.


This allows cross-border transactions that release us from having to use specific payment providers that don’t support all people equally. Tokens are ideal for micro-transactions in this context and will tie content ownership to a token transaction.


Unfortunately, systems like this do not already exist. Some publishers sell access to small parts of a PDF but at a high price. Other solutions require publishers to pay substantial amounts of fees and royalties for an online solution to host this kind of system.


We solve this by delivering an open source publishing platform that we will use behind our own service, but share with others, and serve as a real-world use case for an existing business transitioning to blockchain technology in their business.


THE ROLE OF STELLAR

Stellar-based tokens will be used as the base for our transactions. We will also look at existing on-ramps for those coming with fiat currency to purchase our tokens and, subsequently, access pieces of content from our books.


Accounts and assets will be used to prove ownership and allowing trading of owned material to others.


TARGET MARKET

Our mature market is made up of professionals and educators in the fields of geography, resource management, water management, and more. We have sold over 20,000 books and e-books to this market since 2011.

  • Professionals are geospatial analysts, open source developers, and consultants for business and government. These tend to be young-middle aged adults in developed nations who help manage the ecology or planning aspects of projects for their clients.
  • Educators are teaching the fundamental concepts of geographic information systems (GIS) so students can learn to manage their own community resources (the role of mapping “your” land cannot be exaggerated in building a fair and inclusive world). The students of these trainers tend to be young adult or even secondary education students, who are learning valuable skills to bring them into the professional market.
  • The market is global and there is value to both developed and developing nations in this project.

For most users, no one in our market will be expected to understand blockchain, digital currency, or distributed exchange architectures as the service leverages them seamlessly as a virtual token. Advanced users will benefit from being able to buy/trade tokens on distributed exchanges and allow them to use existing digital forms of money they may have, instead of having to rely on traditional payment systems.


REVENUE MODEL

Our online reading platform will be accessible through a subscription-based service instead of a one-off book purchase. This is a change for us, helping us to diversify our offerings and income channels.  [More details on our business are available if needed but contain private information so need guidance on how to share that properly in this forum.]


Users will purchase a batch of tokens they can use to unlock access to pieces of content in our books. To retain a copy of the content after initial viewing, they will use tokens to identify areas of interest.


We will allow subscribers to have access to a larger amount of material, from across many books, while they have a certain number of tokens in their possession. We believe that tying to Stellar-based token use is critical as we want that to provide a type of liquidity behind our content to help fund further development in the future when there are enough tokens in circulation.



PRICING STRATEGY

Our goal is to provide several options that make it 1. Easy/cheaper to get started. 2. Let you build your own library of knowledge. 3. Potentially trade that library with others through tokenized ownership. Each of these will require substantial testing to find the right balance for pricing, but overall we expect to be competitive because large enterprise publishers that use/provide similar services chew up 25-40% of sales revenue off the top. We won’t have that kind of overhead.


We provide a type of value-based pricing, that remains competitive yet provides more value to everyone in the ecosystem around us. We are marketing and selling books that teach open source software, so it also generates interest and supports those community-centric projects.


OUR GROWTH PLANS

We run an existing, profitable, small business generating modest revenue, so pricing and competition are already well known. We will be pursuing this project regardless of external funding but it will take years instead of months to complete as we do not use any kind of debt financing.


We expect to increase the lifetime customer value by 50% within 2 years as we give more people a reason to come back and see what’s new. This kind of repeat business could become a substantial revenue increase if priced right. For example, if even 25% of our customers can come back and pay even 50% more to access smaller amounts of material, it could be impactful at this stage. The ROI of the project, if funded, would be a few years unless we were also able to help do consulting for other publishers and re-sell the platform too.


MORE CONTENT = MORE CUSTOMERS

When we release new books we bring in a mix of new and repeat customers that helps us gauge potential in the market. The market is not saturated and there is continuing new technology to teach on and a growing thirst in the market. By providing a way to access more granular pieces of content, we are essentially releasing many smaller books, which we know will sell at a smaller price point.


Our current books sell for $25-35 and we often sell only one or two books to each customer. Our PDF-based, DRM-free, books sell with very little overhead and are sold through our own platform that uses Stripe.


By extending our model to allow similar spending (e.g., $30 for 30 tokens) that gives access to broader material we can help them answer more targeted questions and keep them engaged longer as a customer as well.


Likewise, a lower income reader can start to learn with a smaller investment and buy “half a book” for 50% of the cost, for example.

COMMUNITY VALUE

Traditional publishing, including Kindle publishing, is filled with middlemen. They only exist because platforms to deliver better solutions are not developed and shared by independent publishers.


Open source software has yet to be applied to this market and we have the experience to build one that meets the customer/market needs as well as needs of publishers. We sell to a niche audience and would like to see other, non-competitors, also benefit from taking control of their digital publishing capabilities.


By releasing our work as open source, we show the good faith we have in both the developer community around Stellar as well as fellow publishers needing new tools.


New publishers will be able to pick up our platform and use it to sell books, via Stellar, in a new and innovative way and still make profits for their authors and business.

No items found.
Links:

Team

Tyler Mitchell

Founder, Publisher

Tyler founded Locate Press in 2011 to test the need for books in the open source technology space and it grew from there into a successful small business of 1-2 people. Now he is focused on growing the business by building new solutions on top of it. He also has worked in big tech database and analytics teams in Product Marketing, Engineering Management, and Product Marketing for the past 10 years. He also co-founded and ran the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo.org) to help promote open source technology in traditional markets and build a global network of professionals as a result. As he wraps up his MBA this summer and applies the decade of experience in data-related projects, he sees increasing value in the next generation of fintech and blockchain technologies.


https://linkedin.com/in/tylermitchell