Next-Generation Publishing Startup CINE-BOOKS Turns Books Into An Experience

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Publishing Director Nataliya Vynogradska of the publishing startup CINE-BOOKS describes their e-books as "cinematic illustrations filled with life". We spoke to her to find out more about the process and market opportunity for this startup:

How would you describe CINE-BOOKS in a few words?

We are a next-generation publishing and book-filming startup. Our creation is the “cine-book”. Basically, this is a digital book that can be read, listened to, and watched synchronously. We enrich the best fiction narratives with cinematic illustrations, special effects, animation, voiceover, and soundtracks, thus creating a brand-new entertainment experience.

What inspired you to create the company? How did it all start?

The idea of creating the company came to our CEO, General Producer Oleg Fonarov. He is a successful businessman who has been leading a software development and R&D company for more than 15 years. Apart from this, he’s been fond of conceptual photography, having his work presented at prestigious international exhibitions. According to Oleg, once during his portfolio review in Paris, he was told that his photos represent whole stories, therefore he should make movies. That’s how the idea of visualizing stories in photographic form was born.

Being keen on marketing and technology, he could assess the situation in the publishing market and saw the problem of the digital transformation in the industry. So far, we’ve created 12 cine-books based on classical narratives. Now, we’re creating a Contemporary Author’s Collection. In order to achieve this, we are launching a CINE-BOOKS distribution platform.

What’s the platform about? How does it work?

To put it simply, any author, publishing manager, or literary agent can offer his/her book to be published in the unique cinematic format. The CINE-BOOKS’ community will choose which book to publish. Authors will be able to conduct a full crowdfunding campaign with their reader’s votes. Thus, we’ll assist any rights holder in acquiring additional revenues by converting their titles into cine-books. In this campaign, we are also looking forward to cooperating with investors and production studios.

We also invite the book readers to take part in the cine-books open beta testing: simply speaking – trying them out and exploring them further (Ed., visit the website for a first look). As you follow the instructions, you’ll be able to watch three of our books! A short feedback from fellow “start-uppers” is welcomed afterward 😉

What can you tell us about your internal process of experiencing the books?

Well, let’s reiterate that we are a startup. So, the actual CINE-BOOKS digital library with thousands of titles is currently on the way! For now, we’ve created 12 cine-books — 4 of them are already available for readers. Of course, our team watched them like zillion times. We have shown them to our friends and acquaintances, who gave us immensely valuable feedback. For example, sharing a cine-book with one of our U.S. colleagues, we realized how challenging is to show the problem of intercultural differences while picturing the characters. So, we’ve been paying close attention to this issue while creating our cine-books and maybe our next cinematic narratives will be localized.

You mentioned that your e-books combine the advantages of both books and movies. How can we imagine that?

Imagine that you are in the theatre! It seems like the most understandable analogy to me. It’s not just the pictures in front of you. These are cinematic illustrations filled with life. You see the snow falling, people breathing, the river flowing. There are special effects, animation. You can also listen to the soundtrack and narrative spoken by a professional actor. All this prompts you to dive into the plot to experience the emotions of the story. We’ve produced a trailer to convey this feeling a little bit better, too.

Today’s modern mosaic thinking makes people prone to short attention spans, especially in regards to reading. In what ways did you tailor your product to this fact?

Yes, cine-books were specially designed in order to adapt the literature to the modern way of thinking. We add photo-animated content and audio to the narrative itself. This allows the reader to use different ways of perception, switch between them, and assimilate the book content in a more modern and easy way. The images change according to the plot, which makes reading more immersive, satisfying our audience’s strive for visual content. We work thoroughly on our images; decorations, costumes, sets, actor’s – all of these points are fully engaged. We do a shoot in a natural location or in the studio and then do the necessary adjustments using special effects or animation. To make it a complete package, we deliver the story with a professional voice over and soundtracks. Our production studio includes dozens of specialists, not counting the actors who are selected for each and every piece.

Which books have you already produced and what does it take to produce a classical piece like the ones you offer?

For now, we’ve designed 12 cine-books. Each of them is based on the works of classical bestselling authors – Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, London, O’Henry to mention a few. Four out of a dozen books are currently in soft-launch on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. They are also available in public beta format for indie-authors and fiction books publishers, as we strive to create a Contemporary Author’s Collection. Eight more titles are now at the final stage of post-production.

Basically, creating a book takes nearly the same amount of time as carrying a child. It takes 9 months to produce a book after it is submitted to production. The shooting itself might take about 2-3 weeks only. The time for post-production work depends on whether we shoot a book in a natural location or whether our 3D designers should make everything perfect.

As cine-books has just made its market debut. In your opinion, how long until this kind of e-book will be the standard?

We’d love for cine-books to become as popular as the e-books we know today. At the same time, we are a startup that is just on its way to the market and appreciates the feedback.

From October 10 we will be at the Frankfurt Book Fair to present our unique format of book publishing and to get feedback from the largest publishing houses, literary agents, and best-selling authors. Their opinions, as well as the results of our beta-testing, will give us the opportunity to improve our product in the future. Our task for 2018 – to launch the Contemporary Author’s Collection.

What is the most memorable moment throughout the history of CINE-BOOKS?

The most memorable moment probably happened when we finished our first cine-book. It’s just this kind of awe when what you’d once imagined becomes a reality. You can see and hear it. Pause it, scroll it, enjoy it!

We also have a lot of notable moments during the shootings. We were touched while producing “The Gift of the Magi.” Our beautiful actress who played Della decided to cut her actual hair like her character’s so as not to challenge our make-up artists with the issue of hiding her own ankle-length hair.

If there is one thing you could wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem – what would it be?

For a startup to flourish, government support is crucial. Authorities must become the first angel investors for new companies, paying for the time people spend developing brand-new products. A wonderful example of this kind of support can be observed in Israel, as creating a favorable investment climate is crucial, too.

CINE-BOOKS has offices in several countries. However, our contemporary author’s rights are registered in Cyprus, because the tax system in that country is rather simple. So, for simplifying the interaction with rights holders, this is the best option to choose, as we are at the stage of broadening our portfolio.

What’s one piece of advice you can give to fellow founders for their startup?

It’s very important to react quickly, as they say – “harness the horse slowly but drive fast”. Well, this is not about handling a startup! If you are not prompt or efficient enough, your idea might quickly become outdated. So, you have to respond quickly, but stay wise and considerate.

Also, marketing is crucial for startups. Explore the market before implementing your idea. Look to see if there are any actual hotspots. Find proof that your idea will solve problems for a large number of consumers.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to tell people about your idea at the stage of development. That might attract people ready to invest in your vision as it is said that creative nagging is an important part of a successful campaign.



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