UPDATED 09:00 EDT / APRIL 09 2024


AI book publishing platform Spines raises $6.5M to disrupt centuries-old industry

Israeli startup Spines is looking to disrupt the centuries-old publishing industry after closing on a $6.5 million seed funding round today.

The round was led by Aleph and saw participation from existing investors M-Fund, LionTree LLC and Dan Senor, co-author of the best-seller “Startup Nation.” Spines, officially known as Boox Publishing Technologies Inc., has created an artificial intelligence-powered publishing platform for authors that automates the entire process of getting a book published, and its service even extends to the distribution of physical copies.

According to the company, the publishing industry has been at a standstill for decades, with existing processes being almost entirely manual. As a result, it typically takes the average publisher months to get books ready for distribution and sale. Despite the rise of online books and e-readers, authors still have very few options when it comes to self-publishing their books, and those who do manage to publish struggle to make money from their efforts.

Using Spines’ platform, authors have the ability to self-publish their works within just two weeks, reducing the costs of publishing by up to 30%.

Spines uses AI to automate much of the publishing process. It has developed various algorithms that can handle essential tasks such as editing, proofreading, formatting and cover design, though authors also have the option of paying extra for a human editor. In any case, each book is assigned a human production manager who will oversee the entire process, guiding authors through every step, from the time they first upload their manuscript until the book is actually published.

Spines’ AI-powered proofreader scans the manuscript for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typos, ensuring that the final version is error-free. The platform also formats the book to industry standards, making it ready for distribution across an extensive network of worldwide channels.

The platform goes further, with a generative AI model “reading” the finished book before designing appropriate art for the front and back covers, with more than 70 examples for the author to choose from. In addition, Spines handles distribution, listing each book across more than 100 channels once it’s published.

Users can also access more powerful AI-powered marketing tools to give their books the best chance of success, and the platform includes royalty management tools for authors to keep track of book sales. For its services, Spines takes a 30% cut of all revenue generated by the book, with the author keeping the remaining 70%.

What’s more, authors aren’t restricted to online sales, as they can also order hard copies of their books to distribute to physical stores.

At present, Spines only supports English language books, but it can also provide a quote for professional human translations into multiple other languages. Authors can also pay extra to create an audiobook version of their title, the startup said.

The company has been around for a few years prior to today’s funding round, and in that time it has grown to become one of the leading publishers in Israel, accounting for 15% of all books published in that country within the last decade. Last year, it published more than 500 new titles, and with its expansion into the U.S. it believes it’s on track to top 3,000 published books by the end of this year – a rate that amounts to an average of nine books per day, similar to many leading traditional publishers.

Aleph Partner Michael Eisenberg said publishing is an age-old industry that’s ripe for disruption with AI. “Spines leverages all AI advances to make an old industry much more efficient, available to more customers and better at its job,” he said. “As an author, I can tell you that the current book publishing process is expensive, painful and long.”

Spines founder and Chief Executive Yehuda Niv said today’s investment is a critical milestone for the company, and will help to expand the market availability of its platform, providing a tech-based alternative to the costly and inefficient status quo.

The funds will be used to enhance Spines’ brand awareness and further streamline its AI publishing process. “We look forward to working with this group of top investors and authors as we continue our expansion amongst self-publishing, bolster our offering, and allow an increasing number of authors to focus on what they love most — telling their stories,” Niv added.

Photo: LubosHouska/Pixabay

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