Latvian Spotify for books Fabula has doubled Latvian ebook market and raised €470k at €2-million valuation to expand to the Nordics.

The funding attracted from Imprimatur Capital, Vision+ and angels from the US, Sweden and Latvia will be used for expansion in other countries. Currently, Fabula works with publishers in Latvia, Russia, the UK and US.Currently, the team is also actively negotiating terms with Estonian and Finnish publishers.

Fabula is regularly used by about 1,000 readers paying €6.99 a month to access over 12,000 books in 7 languages. This business model is one of the reasons why Fabula was able to double Latvian ebook market within less than a year. Latvian news portal Delfi reports that this is just the tip of the iceberg – most potential readers are still unaware or have not tried Fabula book streaming app. Fabula also plans to do the same in its next target markets.

The service is available on Android, iPhone and iPad. The latter is particularly attractive as it is close to reading a book but allows you to save space and weight. Nevertheless, according to Fabula founder Eldars Loginovs, 70% of their customers read on Android. The team is also developing a Windows Phone app.

The first 10% of each book are available to preview for free. After that, the user has to pay the monthly subscription and can read any book fully. If the user wants to purchase the book, he can also do so for book’s full price. In that way, Fabula also creates additional revenue channel for book publishers.

Fabula has been around since 2012. Started in Garage48 Valmiera as the speed reading app Fastr, it was first noticed at Seed Forum Riga in 2012 when it won the competition and was funded right after that. The company also became one of TechChill Baltics finalists in 2013 and was among Start Tel Aviv 2013 winners a few months later. It also went through region’s most competitive accelerator Startup Sauna.

Fastr had attracted €47,000 back them, from Startup Sauna Foundation and the same investors backing current round. Since then the company has pivoted from a speed reading app into an ebook streaming service. According to Fabula team, the speed reading function is still available in their iPhone app but will be removed soon due to low user interest.

90% of Fabula service subscribers are female, as well as many Latvian emigrants for whom the €6.99 subscription fee is a no-brainer. Authors and publishers are paid for every book read on the service, and most revenue goes to authors.

The team prioritized Nordic markets over Russia for the same reasons as Spotify earlier this year – citing piracy, political and legal issues crippling the market. If their negotiations with Estonian and Finnish publishers go successfully, we will soon see Latvian Spotify for books up here in our Nordic region.

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