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Tablo wants to be Wordpress for eBooks. Think it has what it takes?

Most of us in PR and content marketing are looking for the right tools to augment an ever increasing demand for content generation and that can also help create lasting value for referral traffic on different web platforms.

I personally forsee a lot of SaaS startups and cloud collaboration popping up soon to address this market, and we've profiled startups like Flockler, and 87seconds in the past, which are examples fitting this mould.

A new entrant, Tablo, addresses the eBook market specifically. Whether you are an author, or a web marketer, I suggest paying close attention to founder Ash Davies responses below!

In one sentence, what is Tablo?

Tablo makes it easy for authors to create beautiful eBooks and share them with the world.

Tablo is like Wordpress for eBooks.

What problem(s) does Tablo solve?

The eBook industry is very technical, and authors are not. eBook formatting, validation and publishing are very challenging tasks. Existing conversion tools are unreliable, daunting or slow, and each publisher asks authors to comply with an array of contracts and financials.

Tablo simplifies publishing. We let authors create their eBooks in the cloud, and then publish them globally with a single click.

What are your immediate goals?

Our immediate goals are fairly direct. We're listening to the way authors are responding, and tailoring our platform to better suit their needs. We're working to offer more book formats, more publishers, and more features that can improve an author's workflow and publishing experience.

The vision? That's a little more ambitious. We want to do for eBooks what Wordpress did for online publishing. We want to simplify the technical world of eBooks and put this amazing technology into the hands of authors.

What were the biggest challenges involved in building Tablo?

Simplifying something very technical. I'm a big believer in building a great user experience. The interface was designed and evolved numerous times before any code was written. We pictured the way an author would interact with their book, and then worked hard to build it. With this approach, we set ourselves some pretty crazy challenges with the code, but we've built an incredible user experience as a result.

How will the company make money?

With Tablo, authors can create and even export their books for free. Tablo makes its money on the publishing end. If a user wants to publish their completed book, they can select from three publishing packs that all offer global distribution. Our packs cater for a great variety of authors, from single book publishers to those with a full series of titles.

Who is in your team?

We're a lean team of two. There's an author/designer (myself), and a great developer. We've a broad array of skills, and we're both big believers in talking directly with customers. That's how we learn.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five years’ time?

It's hard to forecast, but there's certainly a broad vision. Over the next year, the plan is to iterate on our product, find a strong customer base and secure investment. We're still in a learning phase and things are changing every few months.

In three to five years, I suppose we'd like to be considered the Wordpress of eBooks. We're working hard to build a great disruptive platform, and time will tell us if we've achieved this.

In the future though, I always want to retain our startup mentality. I'd like to retain a great culture of learning and growing, and hold customer support as a top priority.

Other than Tablo, what are your favourite websites/apps/tools?

I take a lot of inspiration from Squarespace. They've built an incredible platform for website creation, with one of the best user interfaces I've ever come across. They've taken a technical world, simplified it and made something quite powerful. I hold a lot of admiration for this approach.

I really admire Facebook too. It's easy to overlook such a big and mainstream platform, but they're constantly innovating and constantly building a better product. It's frustrating to see a newsfeed full of complaints every time something's launched, but I really respect their relentless mission to innovate.

Ryan Sommer

Published 21 May, 2013 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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