In January 2014, a team of young startuppers from Latvia set up their project named Fabula which became a popular subscription service for electronic books. During the first months, Fabula gained success among Latvian readers and now the service has been launched in Finland, attracting 11 local publishers.
Initially, the startup was presented at Garage48 Valmiera in 2012, then at Seed Forum Riga under the name Fastr where it acquired the first investments. After that, the project went through several other startup competitions and participated in some accelerators. One of them was Startup Sauna in Helsinki where Fastr got €47000 of funding. In recent years, the project has experienced some ups and downs followed by a change of the service principle – from speed reading app to ebook streaming. Finally, this startup is widely known as Spotify for books and already valued at €2 million after Fabula managed to increase the volume of the e-book market in Latvia by half. At the moment, the total sum of all the investments made into the project is equal to €740000.
Available as a mobile application for Android and iOS, Fabula offers now over 12000 books in 7 different languages at a relatively low monthly fee of €6.99. There is an option of free pre-reading of any book, plus the opportunity to buy a book at its full price. Subscribers regularly get some discounts and bonuses.
How did Fabula manage to conquer the local e-book market and even beat Amazon here? The first thing that makes this startup different from numerous book streaming services, providing access mostly to the books in English, is the strategy of working with local publishers and thus publishing the books in national languages. Particularly this feature allowed Fabula gain popularity in Latvia, which should bring more benefits from expansion to other European national markets like Finland. That is why Fabula founders are now searching for new markets where people make readers with leading preferences of national literature. In addition, the team makes priority firstly to the Nordic Region over Russia for example, since piracy, legislation and political issues do not create vital obstacles here.
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