Friday, November 25, 2011

Vibe: Vibal Foundation's e-Bookstore

The first e-bookstore in the Philippines has launched. Vibe, a project of Vibal Foundation, launched recently and was introduced to bloggers at a gathering at the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Vibe is the e-bookstore's name as well as the name of the reading app that is downloadable FREE on PCs, Macs, Android devices as well as on iPhones and iPads.

Vibal Foundation's goal was to make available to the reading public the widest number of newly published, out of print or public domain book titles, including magazines and newspapers. This is good news not only for academe who will have digital access to many books that have long been out of print but Vibe is also a way by which budding authors and bloggers can get their dream book/s self-published in cyberspace. And earn from it as well.

What is Vibe?
Vibe is a universal reading app that displays both flat and interactive material. It has functionalities built into it that can be found in several reading apps like PressReader (e-newspapers), Zinio (e-magazines), Apple's AppStore (storybook apps), Kindle and Apple iBooks (ePub books).

What platforms will it run on?
Mobile and tablet (iOS, Android), PC (Windows 7) and Mac (Leopard+)

What kind of books will Vibe carry?
All kinds of digital books (flat, enhanced and interactive)

What advantages does Vibe have?
Publishers can reduce time to market. E-books can be launched simultaneously with its print version. Digital versions can be substantially cheaper and yet publishers save on paper, printing, distribution and marketing costs. There are also more affordable reading options like limited-time licenses where readers read material that lapses automatically within an agreed period of time (like 7 days, 14 days or one year). Textbook publishers can package electronic textbook versions with tablets and sell these directly to schools with the content pre=loaded.

What differentiates Vibe from other e-bookstores like Amazon Kindle, iBooks, etc?
Vibe is for Philippine readers and publishers. Amazon Kindle and iBooks require a US credit card as its main payment method so that prevents many Philippine citizens from purchasing Philippine titles from the store. Vibe, on the other hand, accepts payments through Globe GCash, Smart Money and other e-services such as load wallets and pass-a-load. At the same time, since Vibal Foundation has direct accounts with Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and Barnes and Noble Nook, Philippine publishers can still deploy their e-books to the international market.

Why is Vibe attractive for bloggers and writers?
You know how hard it is to get a book published in print, right? You need a good book agent, lots of luck to get a publishing house interested in your writings, and you need to have a minimum quantity of books printed. With Vibe, you skirt all these constraints and publish directly in cyberspace. And you earn a good share of the proceeds (70% to the writer, 30% to Vibal).

Why should Moms be happy about this development?

As a Mom who had kids going to school with very heavy bags, I was always concerned about the effect of this daily weight on their shoulders. But now as more publishers opt to transform printed textbooks into digital form or produce entirely digital content, it will not be long before kids will simply be bringing a tablet to school, reading from it, taking tests with it and learning interactively.

Tin Mandigma of Vibal Foundation took us through some of Vibe's features. It will not just be an e-reader for flat books but it will eventually have storybooks that are interactive as well as textbooks that use multimedia features. 

Tin Mandigma

Here's an example shown by Vibal Foundation President Gas Vibal of how music will eventually be taught via Vibe:

Watch out for Vibe in the coming months as more and more books are made available in different formats. It is exciting to see e-readers becoming a more visible mode of academic learning as well as a tool that brings publishing access to ordinary bloggers and budding writers.

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