em>This post, by Daniel Kalder, originally appeared on the Publishing Perspectives website.
Sometimes you encounter an idea that seems so obvious it’s amazing that nobody has thought of it before. That’s how Yoav Lorch feels about Total Boox, his intriguing new reading platform that is about to be unveiled this March. The idea is simple: instead of paying up front for a book you may never even look at, you download it for free and then only pay according to how much of the book you read.
“The idea came to me gradually. I was thinking about the potential of ebooks, and how to make books more interactive, the different types of books you could produce, but then the idea that you could pay as you read — well, that was far more interesting than everything else. So I did away with interactive books and all that. This seemed genuinely different.”
Lorch initially trained as an economist, but after a few years working in that field switched to become a successful children’s book author in Israel. Along the way he also wrote for TV, the theater and produced translations. In the 1990s, he became interested in new technology and founded two successful startups, PressPoint and Zlango. He is a man interested in ideas, and how to make them work:
“When it comes to ebooks, people talk about the technology a lot but they don’t spend much time looking at business models. And so the old business model of pay first read later — which makes sense when applied to physical books — has been smart and sneaky enough to creep into the world of ebooks. But it doesn’t belong there. It’s a business model which may seem to be part of the essence of books — but it isn’t.”