Inkitt – ‘Reader-powered’ publisher hunts for the next ‘Harry Potter’

Bloomberg news, 18.march 2018

Publishers are notorious for making knuckleheaded decisions on new titles — the first “Harry Potter” book, for instance, was rejected a dozen times — so Ali Albazaz has come up with an alternative: Ask readers what they think.

The 28-year-old software coder and aspiring author in 2015 launched Inkitt, which gives users access to the works of about 60,000 indie authors. That gives Inkitt a wealth of data: whether readers stay up all night devouring a vampire story, how often they put down a mystery and flip over to Facebook, and the number of friends they recommend a title to.

Big Data Analysis provides indications

A computer program sifts through all of that information, then spits out recommendations of stories with hit potential, which Inkitt publishes as e-books, audio books or print titles. “The decision-making by big publishing houses can be very random and they tend to favor established authors,” Albazaz says. “Discovering the next J.K. Rowling, the next Stephen King is what we strive for.”

Albazaz thinks he can help the discovery process by tracking over 1,200 ways readers are reading or sharing the story. Inkitt has about 300,000 monthly active users, he added.

Interative process

“It’s about all behaviors around the story,” Albazaz said. “From reading engagement, re-engagement, sharing and the behavior of new readers who come through their friends.”

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