Fastr Books latest update v1.5 with RSVP speed reading and 3000 books in 7 languages is now in App Store! Application is free to download: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id724596360
Dear Fastr Books and Fastr Pro application users, we have a big announcement to make! Until this week we had two applications – Fastr Books and Fastr Pro. Our customers often asked, what is the difference between them. So we have made a decision, to have all the features of both apps in the Fastr Books application for iPhone and iPad. Here are the answers to the most frequent question, that our customers asked us recently.
How to activate the speed reading feature in Fastr Books?
Fastr Books app will have the speed reading feature with the RSVP technology that is available in Fastr Pro. It will be available for free as a feature of the Fastr Books app, that you can enable in Settings in the Profile tab. Fastr Books app is and will remain free as well, as our main focus is ebook sales and subscription model for ebooks. For the upcoming update (this week) RSVP speed reading will have the basic one word per screen mode and the advanced modes will come with the next updates.
What will happen to the books uploaded to Fastr Pro?
So if you use Fastr Pro app, you are welcome to switch to Fastr Books, that is available for free. Fastr Books app also includes most of the users feedback taken into consideration and the bugs reported before from Fastr Pro are fixed there. The ebooks, that you have upload on our server will be available in Fastr Books. You will be able to sign into Fastr Books with you Fastr Pro account as well (with both Facebook or email).
Is Fastr Books for iPhone and iPad similar to Spritz on Samsung Galaxy S5?
Just recently Samsung has announced a partnership with Spritz to add speed reading features to their new flagship smartphone Galaxy S5. If you want to use RSVP speed reading similar to Spritz on your iPhone or iPad, Fastr Books provides is the choice. We have started to work on speed reading technology in 2012. Since then we have worked together with our users with a goal to improve the original RSVP concept, that is now advertised by Spritz.
What is the difference in Fastr speed reading and Spritz?
Our current modified RSVP in Fastr Pro app is more advanced in terms of text presentation, so it lets you to achieve a higher speed. Better results can be achieved by showing not only one, but two or even more words per screen and combining small words like “a, he, she, it, or, if, etc”. With this approach a speeds far better than the 500 wpm advertised by Spritz can be achieved. For example, we have multiple users reading at a speed above 1000wpm.
How these several words per screen are chosen?
However, when you combine words together mechanically, the structure of the sentence can be broken. This is why we do it in a smart way and divide sentences in chunks, each of them makes sense. This is how people read usually, while reading text on a page. If you can not grasp the whole sentence in one fixation, you divide it in logical chunks and read it with several fixations having 2-5 eye movement per sentence. Fastr Pro technology main advantage is to provide text in a logically consistent chunks, not just mechanically dividing it. And of course we support classical one word per screen RSVP mode, that will be available in Fastr Books app this week.
If you have any questions regarding the migration to Fastr Books app, please contact us at email@example.com
Hi, my name is Eldars, I am a CEO of Fastr Books – a startup that helps authors and publishers to proactively sell ebooks harnessing the power of social networks. We have built our first prototype almost 2 years ago in Garage48 hackathon in Valmiera, Latvia.
In these 22 months we visited 38 startup events and conferences in 9 countries with geography varying from Estonia to Croatia and from Israel to USA. According to Tripit travel planner, I have travelled more than 100 thousand kilometres in the past 2 years. Our startup has been through an incubator, accelerator, got angel investment (we even managed to get it twice, so if your startup didn’t get it, blame us), got pre-seed investment from Startup Sauna Foundation and have pivoted from the original concept of a speed reading app into more mainstream ebook selling platform.
Having been in all the stages a startup is supposed to go through we are now back to the very basics of any business – serve our customers and concentrate on the product development. This month we launched our new Fastr Books iOS app with more than 3000 books (both paid and free) in 7 languages with book recommendations and social discovery features. By following other readers on Fastr Books you can see what books they read now and what books are trending.
Where we are now?
Now Fastr Books is a team of 4 people working full time in TechHub Riga in Latvia. We have contracts with 5 publishers locally and abroad, an agreement with a local library, couple of partnerships with book retail stores. Just recently on Facebook page we achieved a a number of engaged users higher than any other books/publishing related startup and similar to the engagement of some global publishers. We have reached an audience of 100 thousand Facebook users with some viral posts and zero marketing expenses.
We constantly work on adding new content partners, so that Fastr Books app user has a wide offering of book titles to chose from. Compared to iBooks, that is currently our closest competitor on iPad and iPhone (usually we get users to switch from iBooks to Fastr Books), Fastr Books features rewards for the active users and the ability to follow your friends. Rewards come in form of bonus points, that can be used for buying books and the discount can be up to 100% of the book price.
Plans for the future
This year we plan to sign up more publishers this year and expand our catalog to 100 thousand books, that is comparable to the offering of iBooks and Amazon. I would like to invite self publishing authors to our platform as well. As we have started with the Fastr Pro speed reading app and it grew quite popular in the App Store, it generated more than 220 thousand downloads. Currently we have thousands of active readers on Fastr platform, who could be interested in your books, co contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are an author.
CEO at Fastr Books
People like to use their smartphones outside in the street. We often use our smartphone at the bus stop while waiting for a bus, sometimes even while we walk. And of course reading on a smartphone is one of the most popular use cases. In summer time reading from a smartphone while being outside is a great way to fill the waiting time with some meaningful activity. So many people do this. However in some countries there is winter time as well. Here in Finland, where Fastr Books is based, winter is quite cold. The same about Sweden, Canada and many other countries.
Reading on your smartphone in winter is not that good idea anymore. First of all, your hands get cold, so you prefer to keep them in the pockets. Second, you usually wear gloves in winter and gloves do not let you use the touch screen of your phone. Taking of your gloves could be a solution, but then your fingers quickly get cold. This is why most people don’t have a way to read comfortably from their smartphones in winter time and this is sad. Of course there are some weird smartphone friendly gloves, but nobody has them. We have been thinking about this problem in Fastr Books until we found a solution.
With the new Fastr Books app for iPhone you don’t need any special gloves to read an ebook. We have programmed the side buttons on the iPhone, so you can use them to turn the pages! Whether you wear gloves or are bare handed, it works perfectly in both cases! Fastr Books app for iPhone will be available in the App Store in December 2013. Want to get it now? Join the group of beta testers here:
Today we are glad to announce our new ebook app – Fastr Books, a social book store. It lets you pick books based on your friends advice and buzz of the fellow readers. Users can buy them in one tap inside the app. Fastr Books will be invite only, available for iPhone in December 2013.
Fastr Books aims to change the way people read ebooks
eBook reading was for a long time static, single user experience, but not anymore. With Fastr Books you will be able to add rich media content on top of the book. Add highlights, videos, reviews, comments to the books. With social networking features, such as following other readers and their activity, conversations towards specific content after the chapter and many others, the reading experience becomes more engaging, dynamic and enjoyable.
Users can create and publish individual readlists in Fastr Books. Readlist is a list that allows users to organize different books, single chapters, blog posts and web articles in a particular order. Similar to playlists for music, readlists can cover a particular topic, can be curated or generated by users. Everyone can create their own readlists and follow readlists created by others users.
Lets keep in touch
We do our best to make Fastr Books the easiest and the most comfortable ebook reading app to use. We take care of our customers and your opinion are very valuable for us. We would like you to write us regarding Fastr Books. Please, contact us via email email@example.com, post your ideas on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/fastrbooks) or follow @FastrBooks on Twitter.
Fastr Books at Slush
Fastr team members are coming to participate in Slush 2013, that takes place on 13th of November in Helsinki, Finland. Everyone can meet us at Fastr Books demo booth.
See you at Slush!
Oh, what a month! July is over and I am sure that it was the best month for Fastr so far! Several interconnected things happened and some decisions were made that will definitely shape the future of our company.
This blog was not being updated for a while with exclusion to some technical details on Fastr app updates, so now we are happy to share more news in one package. As you probably know, we have graduated from Startup Sauna accelerator in June, got seed investment from Startup Sauna Foundation and then went to Silicon Valley in July in search for a better business model, advise and inspiration. As a result several decisions were taken:
1. Fastr Pro app became free and will stay free. You can download it now at http://appstore.com/fastrpro
2. Fastr future is about the way people discover, access and read books.
We have reached 200K total downloads in the App Store in July, 100K active monthly users, and 4* or higher ratings from users in our target market regions – USA, Europe and Latin America. So our users are generally happy with what we do.
But there is one big problem that still needs to be solved – this is the way how users can add books to their reading list in Fastr. We support multiple methods of adding books, but they are still complicated. We were asking ourselves what is the easiest way to access other types of content like videos or music? Netflix and Spotify were like the most obvious answer. So why does this subscription model exist only for music and videos?
This was the moment epiphany for us. All of us like Spotify and what they do for music. We want to be the Spotify for books, was the decision.
And here is why:
1. Users will be able to access our book catalog and add books in one click, no need to search them over the web.
2. DRM problem becomes solved. Do you remember the hassle of removing the DRM to open the book bought in store A with an app from developer B?
3. Sharing ebooks between Fastr premium users becomes super easy and legal. Remember that book sellers did not let you to share ebooks with friends? It was wrong, we are going to fix it.
4. You will be able to follow your friends and see what they are reading (starting reading the same book will be just a click away) and get other social stuff.
5. We will continue to improve our core value drivers – the reader app and the reading experience. You will see it in the next updates, both conventional reading and the speed reading mode will get some exciting new features!
We want to make Fastr more convenient, user friendly, fun to use than Amazon and more full featured than Goodreads (that is actually also part of Amazon). If Goodreads has only the reviews, Fastr will be reviews, ebook reader and ebook catalog – one stop shop for your reading experience! What will be the monthly fee? We are still thinking about the size of it, but it will be user-friendly and similar to Spotify or Netflix subscription fee.
How we plan to make all this happen? With your help of course! If you like the idea of accessing books catalog for a monthly fee, same as Spotify does it for music, please blog about it – the more support we can get from users now, the faster our catalog will be filled with the best titles and presented to the users! We plan to reach 1 million users and launch the catalog till the end of 2013.
CEO at Fastr
Please update your reviews for the new version, as it is a major update. Your excellent reviews keep Fastr going. Download Fastr Pro app here, it is free: http://appstore.com/fastr-pro
• Added Pocket integration – enable it in Settings (aA icon).
• Added manual advance and moving backwards with swipes (left and right) in the pause of word flash mode. You can now get back, if you skipped some word.
• Tap and hold to make text stop in the word flash mode, single tap activates the pause.
• Long tap in the text in normal reading lets you start speed reading from this word.
• Fixed: reading position is now being saved after minimizing the app with an open book
Meeting the President of Finland is great, but can it have a significant impact on the business? We hope so! Sauli Niinistö met with some Startup Sauna teams yesterday during his visit at Aalto University, when they were shown several innovations such as silent reading training application by Fastr and underwater surface research solution by VRT Finland (more details: http://www.president.fi/Public/default.aspx?contentid=276879&nodeid=44807&culture=fi-FI).
Fastr is a Latvian stratup which started about a year ago during a Garage48 hackaton in Valmiera, Latvia. Fastr later got 50k EUR seed investment from Business Angels and support from Valmiera Business Incubator, and just recently became a part of Startup Sauna ’13 Spring Batch.
Fastr team has created a reading training solution (currently an iPhone and iPad apps) based on an original way of text presentation. This means that text of your book or article used for training is presented with one or several words per screen to teach you to avoid sub-vocalization (pronouncing what you read in your head) and eliminate other bad reading habits. The benefits is that this solution make you a better reader in just a several days of use.
Fastr has been already doing well lately reaching 70k downloads in the middle of May. We have set 2 goals for this year: 1) to achieve 100k downloads in June 2013 and 2) achieve 1 million downloads by the end of the year. Well, the first goal seems very close to be achieved, while the second is a bit more ambitious, but still doable.
When the audience is gained Fastr plans to add more features including access to a content, that is relevant to the readers. Fastr main goal is to become the main reading application for our customers, so that Fastr can be used not only for training, but for any reading they do.
Still not sure if Fastr speed reading approach really works? Well it should be so, because even Apple started to use it in their latest iPad commercials! Check out this video from Apple:
As our customers want to know the theory that makes Fastr reading style so efficient, I decided to summarize some speed reading techniques in this blog post. Here are the main factors that affect your reading speed according to an article on speed reading from www.lifehacker.com. My comments are in italic:
Speed reading is all about reading as fast as you can, and it’s a surprisingly easy technique to learn. You can teach yourself speed reading with an app (like Fastr). Speed reading is based on a few key techniques that anyone can pick up: