Mon | Jun 26, 2017

BookFusion adds new clients

Published:Friday | January 6, 2017 | 1:00 AMTameka Gordon
The BookFusion team, CEO Dwayne Campbell and attorney-at-law Kelly-Rae Fisher Campbell.

Jamaica's only e-book company, BookFusion Limited, expects to add at least two international publishers to its growing list of clients early in 2017.

BookFusion has also digitised 70 texts under the Ministry of Education's Doctor Bird: Blue Mahoe reading series for primary schools and the ministry's early childhood and Literacy 1-2-3 series.

Only content owned by the education ministry has been digitised so far, said BookFusion founder Dwayne Campbell .

"The digitisation process was done in December. What we are planning to do next with the ministry is to make them interactive that's putting them into audio, so that the students can actually play the books and hear, for example, the pronunciation of the words," Campbell said. In subject areas such as math, problem-solving examples will be added.

Making the books interactive "will really engage the students and enable them to learn certain key topics with minor assistance from the teacher," he said.

The students will also be able to get feedback whether or not they are in Wi-Fi-enabled zones.

"We had to optimise the app for remote classrooms that have no access to the Internet," Campbell said.

The e-book company also configured its app to support "rich interactivity.

"For the early-childhood books, especially, you have to ensure that they can trace letters and colour in the books. So, we had to make special developments in our platform to support the functionality needed," Campbell said.

Secondary-level textbooks featured in the education ministry's school book-rental system will be added to the digital library this year, but details of the project are still being mapped out, the entrepreneur said.

BookFusion was started close to two years ago by husband-and-wife team Dwayne and Kalye-Rae Campbell.

The company received backing from investor group First Angels Jamaica last year, which it poured into building out its platform to attract more clients,.

BookFusion's platform allows users to read and share their e-books on any device: desktop computers, tablets and phones both iOS and Android. It also provides publishers and authors with an open and global platform to distribute and publish their e-books.

To date, the fledgling company has seen downloads of its app from places such as Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Australia, the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, Campbell said.

The platform is also gaining traction in Caribbean countries, with plans to add another three regional markets this year, he said.

Campbell declined to name the two international publishers to be added, saying only that the contracts, which are expected to close within the first quarter of 2017, will position the company for even bigger growth.

He was also mum on the level of investment being made to facilitate the contract with the education ministry.

Since its capital injection from First Angels, the company has added Carlong Publishers, Blue Banyan Books, LMH Publishing and a "few other local publishers" to its client list.

"We are (also) completing negotiations with UWI Press," Campbell said.

BookFusion has seen a 19.3 per cent increase in iOS users over the last month, with a 7.4 per cent increase in Android users over the same period. The Android platform was added recently.

The company has recorded overall growth of 39 per cent since May 2016, Campbell said.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com