Nicolas Gremion

MO.com Interview

Mike:
Hey everyone, thanks for joining us again today. I am Mike Sullivan. This is MO.com, where we feature small business owners and entrepreneurs and bring you hints, tips, insights, and perspectives on what it takes to be successful.

Joining us today is Nicolas Gremion. He is the CEO of Paradise Publishers. Nick got his start with eBooks pretty early on, and he’s here to talk with us today about eBooks and where he’s taking Paradise Publishers today. Nick, as I like to start things out with, can you give us a little bit about your background and tell us a little bit about Paradise Publishing?

Nick:
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I’ve had a job, I think, since I’ve been nine years old. I was the kid that got out the lawn mower in the summers, going door to door, shovel in the winters. So I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit. I think it provides a lot of benefits if you have the responsibilities to follow through with it. Our latest venture, Paradise Publishers, I founded in 2006, and we dove into the eBook business about two years before Amazon. So we’ve been in the eBook business for about five years now. Our main site is free-eBooks.net. We provide a venue for authors to showcase their work, and we provide a venue for readers to get free reading. So it’s really a win-win situation.

Mike:
Thanks, that’s a great background. Can you tell me a little bit more about how Paradise Publishing works and then maybe a little bit of where the direction is going with the new website, Foboko.com?

Nick:
Yeah. Paradise Publishers is focused in the eBook industry. As I mentioned, our primary site right now is free-eBooks.net. We’re pioneers in the eBook industry. We’re one of the first eBook libraries out there. Authors come to us, they submit their eBooks because they’re looking for exposure. Most of our authors will receive a thousand, two thousand, five thousand eBook downloads in the first week alone. So they’re really getting a lot of exposure, and that’s what the authors want. On the readers’ side of things, readers are getting books for free. So, again, it’s a win-win.

Right now we are pursuing a few different projects. The Spanish demand for eBooks is growing tremendously, so we’re making a Spanish copy of the website that will cater to Spanish eBooks.

We’re also diving into the mobile app world. We launched an iPhone app a few months ago, and it already has about 100,000 downloads. So it’s getting a lot of play. We’re looking at building an Android app as we speak, as well as an iPad app.

Probably, best of all, our latest venture is a website called Foboko.com, and we’re developing that at the moment. Basically, what Foboko will do is it will allow anyone to easily create an eBook. The New York Times put out a survey sometime back that said about 70% of adults had the desire to be published. I mean, that’s huge. It was right up there with weight loss. People want to write books. I mean, writing books brings tremendous credentials, right? So, basically what we’re doing is creating a social publishing wizard that will allow anyone to easily create an eBook, then give that book away for free, but still allow people to profit from that through advertising revenue sharing.

So, right now, if you post your book with an Amazon or an iBooks store, chances are you’re never going to sell 100 copies of your book. As an unknown author, you might have created the best book out there, but if you’re trying to sell it for 99 cents, five bucks, ten bucks, whatever it is, people just aren’t going to download your book. That’s a major problem authors face. So we’re looking to overcome that by allowing people to give away their books, which is what we’re doing on our existing site, which creates massive downloads, while also profiting from revenue sharing that’s based on advertising. So they can get the exposure and get the revenues.

Mike:
You mentioned revenue sharing and advertising. How does that work today? What platform are you using?

Nick:
Right now. we’re using Google’s AdSense program because it provides relevant advertising. So, for example, you might have written a book about Japanese gardens. Google’s program will put relevant ads about gardening, lawn feeds, stuff like that around the book. Somebody else might write a book about business, and it might only put business related ads around there. So the ads become relevant to the subject matter of the books. That really makes a big difference because you want to target your ads to the audience.

Mike:
You previously mentioned to me that, when you got your start early on and you were focusing in on eBooks, people tried to kind of persuade you away from that, which I think is a common issue that entrepreneurs face. But tell me, how did you stick to your guns and stay with that? What kept you on task with that?

Nick:
To be honest with you, I saw it as the future. I mean, there are so many things that are convenient about eBooks. I had confidence in it. At the time, I was looking for an emerging market. If everybody was doing it at the time, I didn’t want to get into it, right? So I was really looking for an emerging market, something that I had confidence in, and eBooks was it. I was using eBooks myself. I knew a lot of people who were reading eBooks. It just seemed like the way to go.

Mike:
You say you’re focused on changing the landscape of the publishing industry. Why? What is calling for that change?

Nick:
The need to make that change, I mean, I’ve been working with authors for a long time. We work directly with authors, so we get a lot of feedback from authors. We hear it all the time. Authors put hard work into these books. A lot of people dedicate a lot of time to put in these books. Then they go to Amazon or to the iBooks store and they try to sell books. But, again, because they’re relatively unknown, it’s a dead-end for authors, right? That’s when authors come to us and submit their book to us. Then, a week later, a month later, I hear from them, “Oh my god, look at my book. It’s been downloaded 10,000 times. This is amazing. I love you guys.”

So, right now, we’re providing the exposure for the authors because they want to get that recognition. It’s like if you’ve painted a picture. If no one ever looks at, it does you no good. You want people to appreciate what you’ve done, right? So, right now, we’re allowing authors to get that exposure, to get a fan base. But authors, they still want to make money at the end of the day, and that’s the problem with independent authors trying to sell their books. That’s where the advertising revenues come in. They get to get that exposure and earn money at the same time.

Mike:
What are the hot topics or hot genres in eBooks right now?

Nick:
The usual suspects. Fiction is always hot, romance very hot, always. In non-fiction, we do about 50-50 fiction to non-fiction. Business books, especially people that are interested in eBooks are always interested in things like online marketing, that type of thing is always popular. Like I said before, the demand for Spanish eBooks is really growing. There’s a big market for that. But the romance, the fiction, those are always the biggest ones. Right now, we offer a top ten. We offer, actually, five categories of top ten eBooks. We break down the top ten into fiction, lifestyle, business. The top ten books, some of them have been downloaded 200,000 times. So there’s a lot of exposure, a lot of need for eBooks. Lots of people are liking what we do and what we offer.

Mike:
Hey Nick, thanks a lot, it was great talking to you.

Nick:
All right, thanks. Have a great day, man.

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