Woman reading an ebook on a tablet.

Vook

The Challenge

e-Book publishing is a lot harder than it should be, often requiring developer skills. Despite ePub standards, developing for e-readers can be like coding for the web during the bad old days of the browser wars. Adding images, video, web-fonts or styling with CSS are all considered advanced skills. Once your e-book is ready, distribution can be equally challenging; navigating multiple e-book stores, file formats, requirements and meta-data.

 

Michael brought strong leadership to both creative and product management at Vook. His thoughtful designs were often recognized for their ease-of-use overcoming the inherent complexities in e-book creation and publishing. Michael was highly respected by the Engineering team because [of] his open, informed, and agile work style. I look forward to when our paths cross again.
Rob Guttman, VP of Engineering, Vook 

The challenge was to remove all of this complexity and create a simple to use SaaS application that allowed anyone to create an e-book without the need for any development skills, distribute with the push of a button and track all sales activity from one place.

 

Working with Michael was wonderful for two reasons. First he always demonstrated a deep care for the users and the product. This kept us engineers happy as we were building something that was well thought out. Second, he listened and responded/acted as a team player. We were all very confident of the product we put out because of this wonderful collaboration
Amanuel Tewolde, Senior Software Architect, Vook

The Solution

As Product Management and User Experience lead, I collaborated with leadership on product vision and roadmap based on customer research, participated in planning and execution of product launch. Additionally, I collaboratively developed a set of core product principles, led the user experience team using Agile and Lean UX while working closely with the engineering team. Throughout design and development, the core product principles served as a touchstone in guiding product decisions.

 

Michael is a strong creative force, consistently able to balance heavy workloads with a high-level of personal attention to crucial details. Nothing escapes his comprehensive understanding of process. He can take a big picture strategic objective and walk through and execute the complicated individual pieces—long-range thought and daily execution in one—a crucial advantage, particularly in a startup environment. He‘s also very well versed in the history of design and aesthetics, which means he brings a craftsman‘s eye to his work.
Matthew Cavnar, VP of Business Development, Vook

The Outcome

Vook is an end-to-end cloud-based e-publishing solution. With Vook, users can create and publish e-books anywhere; build and style awesome looking e-books without knowing any code; effortlessly incorporate fonts, easily add video, images and sound; preview their e-books quickly; manage metadata simply; conveniently watch sales from multiple channels all in one dashboard.

Vook was later renamed Pronoun and exited in a sale to Macmillan Publishers.

Publishers Weekly has been testing the platform and [Vook] could indeed be a game changer.
Craig Morgan Teicher, Publishers Weekly

 

Sign-up Optimization

New Vook website after using a combination of web analytics and usability tests to optimize conversion, resulting changes that led to a 17% lift in trial sign-ups.

Very publisher-friendly.
Joe Wikert, Chair of Tools of Change/O’Reilly Media

 

Unified login and sign-up page—reducing the need to drive users to the correct page. Greatly reduced sign up friction, reducing workflow from a five-step process to a single step.

 

We talked about making it as easy to build an eBook as write a blog post—I think [Vook] delivers.
Pete Myers, newkindofbook.com

 

Dashboard

From one dashboard, users can start a new project, quickly see the status of current projects and get sales data from multiple e-book marketplaces—including Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

 

You guys did it, you created WordPress for ebooks.
CTO of major news publisher

 

Style Editor

One of Vook’s biggest differentiators is the ability to style e-books without the need to write any code. Users have control over typography, lines and color.  On publishing, Vook handled generating code optimization for each of the popular e-book stores.

 

This is so user-friendly.
Author and TED speaker

 

Metadata Made Easy

Metadata is the lifeblood of e-book marketing and is key to discoverability and ultimately to sales. Managing metadata is challenging, as each e-book store has differing requirements—often for similar data—and using obscure publishing industry terminology. A streamlined user experience was created by analyzing all of the data sets from multiple e-book stores and collapsing them into a unified set of three forms.

 

I really liked the user interface and the process is very intuitive and clear.
Vook user

 

Push Button Distribution

A core value proposition of Vook is push button distribution to multiple e-book distribution channels. Previously, e-book distribution required organizing files for each platform, preparing separate metadata XML files and logging into each channel where the user would have to re-enter the same data and upload files multiple times. Vook’s distribution user-flow distills all of this down to a single workflow.

 

Working with Michael was wonderful for two reasons. First he always demonstrated a deep care for the users and the product. This kept us engineers happy as we were building something that was well thought out. Second, he listened and responded/acted as a team player. We were all very confident of the product we put out because of this wonderful collaboration.
Amanuel Tewolde, Senior Software Architect, Vook

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