Inkling, started by Matt MacInnis, a former marketing manager at Apple, gives publishers a way to digitize and upgrade some of their highest-margin books without creating an app for each title. The San Francisco-based startup’s new Habitat software platform, released on Feb. 12 after a private beta test, allows publishers to add high-resolution photos, audible pronunciations of wine varietals, or videos that show how to cut an avocado. “Inkling is going at a unique, high-end interactive experience that you won’t find on many of those other platforms,” says Jerome Grant, chief learning officer for the education division at Pearson, an Inkling investor.
The company has teamed up with publishers including Pearson, McGraw-Hill (MHP), and Wolters Kluwer to try to gain ground in the U.S. e-book market, which Forrester Research (FORR) projects will reach $13.6 billion by 2017. Inkling will take a royalty of at least 30 percent from every sale.
Inkling is focused on textbooks, how-to guides, and cookbooks rather than novels. “We’re not interested in pumping a bunch of text files into our platform,” MacInnis says. Consumers can buy Inkling books on the Google search results page (through Inkling’s payment platform), from Inkling’s website, or from another publisher’s online store. The books are readable through the Inkling app on the iPad, iPhone, and computers. On Android devices, users have to access the books through the Web browser.
Photo Credit of an Inkling book Global History of Architecture