The e-book industry has exploded in recent years as it has become increasingly comfortable and convenient to read through a tablet, as opposed to a paper copy. However, for most people, price remains as much of a barrier as it ever was to creating a library and reading the books you’d like to read. Meet Blloon, a German startup offering nearly a million free titles to allow users to find a variety of works without breaking the bank.
At the moment, the platform is available to web users or users of iPhones and iPads. A word of warning, though. The service is currently on available in the UK (and remains in beta), but they are planning to soon expand to Germany and the United States. The first 1,000 pages are free to customers, but then prices start at £3.99 (for 500 pages) or £6.99 (for 1,000 pages) per month after that. For those who do not wish to pay to subscribe, there is an alternative, but it means that you will need to be a bit social. The service provides additional free pages to those willing to invite friends to sign up, rate the books that they read, or provide feedback.
A representative from Bllon tells me that, unlike competitors such as Kindle Unlimited and US-based Oyster, this startup is not offering an “unlimited” package. You might immediately think that they would be giving customers a raw deal, but the company says that they made the decision to provide lower page-limits in order to be able to lower their subscription fees.
Blloon has not been around long, having only launched this summer. Thus, is it not surprising that the company is not revealing their traction at this point. They are not disclosing their financial backing, either, but told me that they will do so once they close the deal for their initially funding round later this month. I am told that the funding comes from a European VC and private investors.