Sponsored by Oregon Business

Folium enhances audiobooks

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Audiobooks have been around for decades, but what recovering Silicon Valley insider John Lee and his colleagues at Ashland-based Folium Partners have in mind is something altogether different. “We’re turning it into an experience; we’re presenting publishers with the opportunity to add games and other features to support the book,” says Lee.

0511_Audiobook_01
Folium's John Lee
0511_Audiobook_02
Modernbookfactory.com is an online platform with which users can create Folium-enhanced audio. // Photos courtesy Folium Partner

The 2-year-old company’s vision of audiobook apps for smart phones and tablets with enhanced content has landed it Southern Oregon Angel Investment Network’s first annual investment prize of $155,000.

Lee and his associates founded Folium with $12,000, countless unpaid hours and an optimistic if uncertain understanding that their multimedia-enhanced audiobook was in demand. “There wasn’t a strong market indication that people would prefer to experience a book this way; the risk was there if we got it wrong,” he says.

Another initial fear was whether Apple would even agree to sell their product through iTunes because of Apple's strong partnership with New Jersey-based audiobook distributor Audible. Fortunately for them, Apple decided that what Folium is producing is not audiobooks, but rather what Lee calls “Folium-enhanced audio.”

The scope of what this “Folium-enhanced audio” entails is wide and ever changing. One facet, geared toward book clubs, allows users to individually rate a chapter and write or voice record notes. Another product that Folium launched in January is the videobook, which so far is focused on step-by-step DIY guides and other study aids. As of late March, Folium had produced more than 800 titles that are distributed by Ashland audiobook publisher Blackstone. There are plans for the launch of modernbookfactory.com, a user-friendly, self-publishing audiobook website that allows the user to choose from a variety of voice actors and other services to enhance their book.

Folium plans to add nine jobs within the year to expand its distribution partnerships and self-publishing capacity by drawing on its industry connections and local talent. “We rely heavily on the intellectual capital side,” says Lee. “Most of our investment is in people and we’ll be investing in more people.”

Peter Beland

 

More Articles

Letting Go

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

As baby boomers sell their businesses, too many forget the all-important succession plan.


Read more...

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

Bike Chic: 7 stylish options for cyclists

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cycling to work is all the rage. But not everyone wants to arrive at the office messy, sweaty — and unfashionable.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Can small be large?

Linda Baker
Wednesday, April 01, 2015
040115-lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

Leaders in Oregon's ag sector gathered this morning in Portland’s Coopers Hall winery/taproom to discuss the role of the region as an export gateway, impediments to exporting products and solutions to containerized shipping challenges.


Read more...

Beam Me Up

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY DAN COOK | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

An alliance of developers, academics and timber industry executives wants to position Oregon as a front runner in the glamorous new world of wooden skyscrapers.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS