Innovation from Outside the Publishing Industry – The Underground Bookclub

This month has seen the launch of a very innovative app which is entrpreneural in nature and innovative in concept. It is called The Underground Bookclub and its target audience are London underground commuters.

As alternative to the Metro newspaper and other underground dailies, University of Bath student, Andy Brown has understood what is possible with mobile publishing and taken a decision to create his app, available to download from the Apple Newsstand.

The Underground bookclub, (currently featured on the books section of the App store) can best be described as a magazine as it makes money through selling advertising space within the editions. Each issue of the Underground Book Club will contain the opening three chapters of three new books, and is designed to give commuters a quality read on their journey.

Andy Brown, a 24 year-old Aerospace Engineering student from Epsom, has just won the University’s Students’ Union business plan competition with his idea.

Friends and family will help him to distribute 10,000 copies of the magazine at 10 stations, including Paddington, Waterloo and Kings Cross.

Andy’s inspiration for the company came from his experience of commuting in London. He said: “The free newspapers on the tube can get pretty boring. So I thought, instead of people reading news on the way to work, why not give them the chance to read premium quality content from new books. They can then read the next chapter online, read interviews with the authors and put questions to them.

“I thought it was a good idea, but it’s taken a lot of work to find out whether it makes a good business. The trial is all about proving that people want it.”

Andy has leading publishers on board including Bloomsbury, Penguin and Harper Collins.

It will feature a range of books to appeal to as many people as possible, with the first issue including Life! Death! Prizes! by Stephen May (Bloomsbury); Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich (Ebury Press); and Catch your Death by Louise Voss and Mark Edwards (Harper Collins).

When asked about the app, Andy said: “I think publishing the app through YUDU has been the best thing I could have done for the Underground Book Club on the digital side of things. It’s already starting to pay off and I couldn’t be happier. I’m just looking into the Android side of things at the moment.”


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