Copia, a new e-book platform, plans to take on the big players in the market by launching its own e-book store and a set of touchscreen e-readers. Copia also wants to combine numerous social networking features with its e-book platform and plans to sell its services to original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Copia's e-book store will offer over 250,000 books from over 1,500 publishers, as well as 1,400 newspapers and over 750,000 free books from Google Books.
Copia's private, limited-invitation beta will launch this month. The company plans to expand this beta in March.
Copia bills itself as a hybrid solution, as the company plans to offer both consumer-facing e-book solutions as well as an open platform for OEMs.
Focus on Social Networking Features
On the consumer side, Copia wants to differentiate itself from its competition by giving its users a number of social networking tools. Community profiles on Copia, for example, are linked to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition, the service will offer collaboration tools that are mostly geared towards students. Users can highlight and annotate books, for example, and share these annotations with other users. Copia will also implement a rating system for book reviews.
OEM's will be able to offer all of these features to their users as well. OEMs will also be able to integrate Copia's e-book store into their own devices.
Copia's E-Readers: Ocean and Tidal
Copia plans to offer six different e-readers with prices ranging from $199 to $299. The Tidal will offer a six-inch ePaper display and the Ocean will come in a basic six-inch version and two advanced versions with a nine-inch screens. Both of these models will come in three different variations. The most basic models will not offer any wireless connectivity besides Wi-Fi and won't offer a touchscreen. The intermediate models offer touchscreens, and the high-end versions will offer touchscreens and 3G connectivity. All models come with tilt sensors and 4GB of internal memory.
These devices will go on sale on Copia's site in April.
Can This Work?
We still have a lot of questions about Copia. We don't know at what price the company plans to sell books and what DRM-solution Copia plans to implement. At the same time, though, the company's plan to sell both e-books and compatible e-readers looks a lot like Amazon's strategy and there can be no doubt that Amazon has been quite successful with this model. Copia, however, doesn't have any name recognition yet and the e-book market is currently dominated by big companies like Amazon, B&N and Sony. If Copia is successful in getting enough OEM partners, though, it could establish itself as another major player in the market. The company's e-reader lineup also looks like a potential winner.