July 7, 2014 Last Updated 10:12 am

John Marshall Media launches K8e, its own eBook platform for educational publishers

Books on Monday: each Monday TNM looks at books and book publishing – either a new book on the publishing industry, a new digital book release, or industry news

The audiobook production company, John Marshall Media, recently launched a new eBook platform called K8e, which will enable educational publishers to create interactive eBooks for sale on their own branded websites. One of the first publishers to utilize the new service is the K-12 education publisher Amplify.

K8e-devices“We are so excited that Amplify chose the K8e eBook Platform for this important project,” John Cheary, founder of K8e and CEO of John Marshall Media, Inc. said in the company’s announcement. “This partnership is an outstanding example of how quickly and easily a publisher’s interactive eBook content can be created and distributed direct from their website using the K8e platform, creating a fully branded and simple user experience that is device agnostic.”

Amplify will use the K8e system to create eBooks with narration, word-for-word highlighting, and the ability to let teachers customize their students’ experience with the enhanced eBooks. These eBooks will be accessible through the publisher’s own website, and will be read using any computer or mobile device browser.

K8e-whiteboardCheary told TNM that K8e created eBooks can feature embedded audio and video, the ability to create text boxes, a click-to-circle feature, drag and drop, notes which can be hidden, radio buttons and a whiteboard feature for teachers.

Until August of next year, publishers can play around with the system themselves by uploading book PDFs and audio to create their own eBooks. Publishes can try out K8e themselves by signing up on the just launched new K8e website.

“What we’re doing is looking for interesting small to mid-sized publishers who are going to be part of an early adopter program,” Cheary said.


John Marshall Cheary founded his own sound studio in 1995, John Marshall Sound, and following the acquisition of Paul Ruben Productions in 2008 moved into the educational publishing field (three audiobooks they have worked on have won Grammy Awards).

“About four years I had a bunch of educational publishers begin to record the audio for their audio enhanced eBooks, which at the time were in Flash,” Cheary told TNM for Books on Monday.

JohnMarshall-sm“Those publishers, who are great friends of mine, who spend weeks and months in my recording studio because I have a lot of customer contact, and I heard them complaining about how there was not a great eBook production and distribution solution,” Cheary said, explaining the origins of the K8e platform.

“We were focused on making it easy to produce and distribute directly from the publisher’s website because the initial idea was that this is focused on educational publishers.”

Unlike trade publishers, who sell to consumers through retail channels, educational publishers sell direct to schools, selling contracts that are not just about one book, but about a catalog of titles.

“And something this publisher does not want to do is to say ‘great, now go to the App Store, or to Amazon, and download an app.’ That automatically loses the customer contact,” Cheary said.

Instead, the publisher wants to have the customer go directly to the publisher’s website, log-in, and access the eBook. Because of this, the new K8e platform was designed to interface with the publisher’s existing e-commerce system.

“That way,” Cheary said, “they are always controlling the relationship, they’re always driven back to the publisher’s website, they don’t care what devices people have.”

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