The Elusive “Netflix of eBooks”

Travis Alber (Publicis Lifebrands Medicus / Digitas Health), Christian Damke (Skoobe), Justo Hidalgo (24Symbols), Liza Daly (Safari)
Location: Broadway Ballroom North Level:
Presentation: external link
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(3.25, 8 ratings)

Every six months or so a story breaks in the publishing media about the launch of a “Netflix of Books.” Shorthand for subscription, on-demand, digital books, it’s a concept that appears again and again in the media, but has been slow to gain traction. Why is this area of publishing not growing more quickly, and what companies are working in this area? Do subscription services need to be publisher-specific or genre-specific? Most importantly, what direction is subscription moving in the next two years?

  • What are the biggest hurdles for this model (rights management, content deals, size of market)?
  • Are you publisher owned or genre specific?
  • How has your pricing changed since launch, and do you offer different tiers?
  • What are the royalty challanges?
  • Is this a 1-startup takes all, or can multiple networks exist?
  • Is DRM still prominent in your discussions, and how has that affected your product release (HTML vs APP, for instance)?
  • Where is the market going over the next year?
Photo of Travis Alber

Travis Alber

Publicis Lifebrands Medicus / Digitas Health

Travis Alber has been delivering intuitive online experiences for 18 years. She’s focused on creative direction and user experience in both the startup and agency arenas, and now heads up the User Experience practice at Publicis Lifebrands Medicus / Digitas Health NY.

She’s passionate about making the complex seem simple, and delivering excellent experiences across mobile, tablet, desktop and wearable environments. The belief that a brand experience should transcend the technology through which it is delivered is central to her approach.

Recently Travis has focused on how to improve experiences in the health and wellness space, working with AbbVie, Pfizer, Daiichi Sankyo, and Sanofi; in the past she’s also worked with Cisco, Dodge, Audible, Macys, Sprint and Sony. She’s also written for O’Reilly Media, recently contributing a chapter to
“Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto: A Collection of Essays from the Bleeding Edge of Publishing”

Photo of Christian Damke

Christian Damke


Social Entrepreneur with interest in media, mobile, publishing, user experience and product development with broad experience in business development, investment banking, strategy consulting and international development work.

Social Entrepreneurship, media, mobile, integrated marketing communication, project management, international development, capacity building, entrepreneurship.

Photo of Justo Hidalgo

Justo Hidalgo


Justo Hidalgo is co-founder of 24symbols, a platform that offers readers the ability to read and share digital books in the cloud, working in any reading device with internet connection and that gives users access to an international and multi-publisher’s catalogue. He is also a part-time product strategy and innovation consultant at Denodo, and teaches product strategy and innovation at the master’s degree in industrial design of Nebrija University, and technology for managers at the Nebrija Business School in Madrid, Spain. Justo is member of the Internet Society and mentor at the Startupbootcamp accelerator.

Photo of Liza Daly

Liza Daly


Liza Daly is the CTO at Safari, where professionals go to learn the technology, business, and leadership skills they need to have a remarkable career. Liza came to Safari via an acquisition of her digital publishing companies and was given a mandate to build a modern engineering team to transform the business. She has been a software engineer, entrepreneur, and technical manager at both startups and larger organizations. She’s made her home and career in the Boston area and is active in the digital art and open source communities.


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