For immersive reading on mobile devices

By Nandita Singh

From the Startup Series

Mobile devices have profoundly changed the way we read. While books encourage immersive reading without distractions, digital reading urges interactivity. In 2010, while repurposing a print book into a digital format for Harper Collins, Arun Benty, co-founder of Papertrell realised that there were no tools available for creating, distributing and marketing a product that delights and engages a digital audience. “This was a popular bestseller about outdoors – tips on camping to be precise. In the interactive app format from papertrell, the book rose to ‘app of the week’ on the Apple store soon after launch, demonstrating the potential of the product format,” recounts Benty. While this was already a popular bestseller, in this format it became even more useful. Papertrell was born in 2013 as a result of identifying this market need.

Today, leading publishers across the world use the Papertrell platform to go beyond simple digital replicas of print books to create interactive experiences that delight and engage with readers. “We are on a mission to empower everyone with tools to ride on publishing’s digital future,” says Benty.

For publishers who want to create digital books and publications and engage directly with consumers, Papertrell is a digital publishing platform that provides content monetization, discoverability and reader engagement solutions. Unlike existing retailers and channels that do not provide customer information, Papertrell helps publishers establish a direct relationship with their readers enabling them to sell better.

Papertrell is fundamentally different from Kindle, ePub, and books on e-markets such as Amazon and Flipkart, explains Benty. There is discoverability, content monetization and reader engagement intelligence embedded in the Papertrell platform. “For example there can be a cookbook with demo videos embedded and where the author can directly interact with the readers and their fan base. Besides, it is easy to use book,” says Benty talking about how non fiction category that has utility value is where the most value is in this format.

For Benty and team, it has been a challenge to break into the relatively conservative publishing industry. “It has been a tough but very rewarding journey.,” he says. It’s a challenge to break into a traditional and conservative industry like publishing with a disruptive technology. But Papertrell has been successful and has customers in the US, UK and India. It just proves that the product has a market of a fair size to put resources after.

“The publishing industry is a $150 billion a year industry that’s being disrupted by digital technology. It’s a massive opportunity and we have worked hard at building a great network of customers and partners, including two of the largest publishers in the world, Hachette and HarperCollins,” he says.

Today, Papertrell powers the reading experience of over 1.5 million + readers in over 100 countries and is looking at getting further entrenched in its markets as well as make inroads in the B2B space.

The company also recently bagged the most innovative digital start-up at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2014.

Riding on immersive reading experience, Papertrell powers the reading experience of over 1.5 million+ readers in over 100 countries.

Top Challenges

  • Building and scaling our sales and marketing
  • Expanding our solutions to other markets like B2B publishing and corporate publishing
  • Setting up a permanent presence in the US and the UK

Company: Papertrell; Year of Establishment: 2013

No of people employed: 16

Founders: Arun Benty, Rohit Regonayak, Anil Garg

(Papertrell bagged the Voice&Data Editor’s Choice Emerging Company of the Year 2014 Award)


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