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Vancouver Startup Partners with HarperCollins on Ebook Pilot Project

Ebooks | BCBusiness

Bitlit lets readers build electronic versions of their print libraries without breaking their budget

Local ebook startup Bitlit announced Monday that it’s partnering with U.S. publishing giant HarperCollins in a new pilot program that allows readers to purchase digital editions of print books at a discounted price, assuming they already own the print version.  

Readers will be able to access the discount by taking a photo of the book cover and copyright page (on which readers must sign their name in ink) with their smartphone. Bitlit will then send a confirmation that the title is eligible. Using visual recognition technology, Bitlit can verify authenticity and thus avoids the need for receipts and point-of-sale records.

But going all-digital has its limitations, says Bitlit co-founder and CEO Peter Hudson. For one thing, readers can’t share e-Books with friends, and millenials, who tend to do their reading on tablets rather than e-readers, are finding that constant interruptions from text messages and Twitter feeds aren’t conducive to book-reading, says Hudson.

Publishers and booksellers welcome the initiative, he says, because it not only boosts interaction with potential customers, but also increases sales; consumers are more likely to buy a hardcopy book if it’s bundled with an e-book. 

HarperCollins titles will join the nearly 20,000 titles that are already available for bundling through Bitlit.