I mentioned last time that this post would cover AR’s Robot Army system, but in true Angry Robot fashion they decided to interrupt my plans with something fresh and exciting.
On Wednesday October 9th, AR announced that they would be partnering with a new social media service called Boosh in order to enable book sharing on mobile phones.
Boosh, which stands for Book Share, is a mobile phone app from developer Evandius that attempts to ease the user’s ability to share e-books with friends and family. Unveiled in March, Boosh “acts as a reader, but then deletes the e-book once it is read, allowing it to be shared amongst that reader’s friends. Once shared, the app also then invites friends of the original reader to buy the e-book.”
E-book sharing has been a contentious issue, particularly because the DRM restrictions on most e-books prevent any sort of sharing. Things have been easing up since the earliest days of the e-book; Amazon currently allows a limited, library-like borrowing system of sharing, while ReDigi has opened up the floodgates for pre-owned digital music sharing (to the dismay of Capitol Records).
In Boosh’s system, the publisher sets the limits on how often a book can be shared for free. Boosh claims that the app will ease the discovery of books and authors on social networks, particularly on the previously-untapped smartphone market.
“Boosh is targeted at mainstream social media users, not just current readers, and allows friends to share their passion in an environment that is immediate and wholly appropriate to them and their lifestyle,” says Steve Kennedy, chief executive of Evanidus. “It’s like letting your friends try your favorite wine rather than just telling them where they can buy it.”
AR’s partnership with Boosh is currently in the pilot stage. AR’s involvement is currently limited to the UK and Ireland, but AR implies that this will most likely change. The Android version of Boosh is currently available to customers in those countries, but the iOS version has been delayed due to the recent launch of iOS7.
AR is the first genre publisher to participate in Boosh’s program. The first AR novel to be available on the app is Anne Lyle’s 2o12 book The Alchemist of Souls, the first in her Night’s Masque trilogy. AR notes that many more of their authors have signed up to have their AR works available on Boosh.
The most telling aspect of this relationship is that Boosh went to AR in order to seek their partnership in this program.
“Due to our history of innovation we’re often contacted by start-up companies in the publishing realm,” writes Lee Harris, AR’s senior editor. “Sometimes these companies bring us pie-in-the-sky ideas, or rehashes of things that exist elsewhere, but sometimes, just sometimes, we hear from someone with a really interesting idea. Evanidus was one such company.”
While some might claim that statement this is self-aggrandizing of AR, I think that Mr. Harris is perfectly justified. The history does show that AR is repeatedly ahead of the the curve. Their stance on book sharing appears to be another such instance of AR’s shrewdness.