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Pinoy Abroad

Local eBook portal launches with 70 Filipino books

Fast disappearing are the days when Filipino eBook readers have to resort to illegal downloads of local titles just to get their fix. On Friday, Flipside Digital Content, Inc. unveiled their newest endeavor,, an online eBookstore that caters specifically to Filipino publishers, authors, and other content providers. Flipreads CEO Anthony de Luna explained that while Filipinos have access to eBook selling sites such as Amazon, eBook prices there are usually hefty—$2 on top of the book price. Selling of eBooks is also constrained by language limitations, since most sites are not designed or configured to allow for Filipino titles. “We built it for that purpose, so local publishers and authors have that platform. And since it’s online, it’s also available globally," de Luna told GMA News Online. Part advocacy, part business Flipside started off 12 years ago to service Barnes and Noble’s foray into eBooks. But when the company closed shop two years later, de Luna decided to continue the business—this time, servicing international publishers. After 10 years of doing that, de Luna explained that it was only natural for them to want to service local publishers. Flipreads started out by helping local publishers create electronic versions of their books, they soon figured that the next step was to provide a platform for distribution. “It’s part advocacy, part business," he said. Flipreads isn’t the first local effort in eBook distribution. Since July, Vibal Publishing has made copies of Jose Rizal’s “Noli Me Tangere" and “The Monkey and the Tortoise" available on iTunes. Flipreads also protects books sold through the website through Adobe Content Server’s Digital Right Management, preventing casual piracy, according to de Luna. Publishers and authors may also opt to distribute eBooks for free though Flipreads. Through Flipreads, publishers and authors can also opt to release previously out-of-print back into circulation. Currently, Flipreads is home to over 70 Filipino books, including Butch Dalisay’s “Man Overboard: Essays By, For and Of The Smart Filipino Male," and Luis Katigbak’s “The King of Nothing to Do: Essays on Nothing and Everything." Also on the website are Filipino graphic novels such as that of Manix Abrera’s. For Filipino readers too The “advocacy" also extends into making eBooks accessible to local readers. The local market, he said, hasn’t been picking up on the eBook trend as fast because of limited access. “In other countries, they make it very easy for people to purchase eBooks," he added. One of the things that sets Flipreads apart from the usual eBook selling platform is that it offers a cash option for buyers through CashSense. Paying for an eBook doesn’t require a credit card anymore—in fact, payments can be made through 7-Eleven branches, Cebuana Lhuillier and soon through Globe GCash and Smart Money. “Some Filipinos don’t have credit cards… or they’re hesitant to use credit cards for various reasons," de Luna explained. Flipreads is also looking for tie-ups with education institutions and possibly even the government. “With eBooks, documents and text books may reach even far-flung communities in Mindanao," de Luna added. — ELR, GMA News

Tags: ebooks