ooBible is the first product of Osprit, an eight-month-old Seattle digital book startup led by Wong and Jason Winn which is announcing $500,000 in startup financing from Seattle angel investors such as BuddyTV CEO Andy Liu, ClassifiedAds.com CEO Edward Yim and Avidian Technologies CEO James Wong, Geekwire reports.
Colin Wong, a 39-year-old former Google engineer, said he came up with the idea last October after reading the Bible and discovering that many rival technologies were stuck in a 1990s-style design and not really built for the e-reading generation.
â€œWe wanted a clean, simple interface, something that people can come in, and really just focus on the words,â€ Wong tells GeekWire. â€œWe wanted to create an experience that mimics physical books, so you can highlight, annotate on it â€¦ and bridge the gap between physical books and the e-book world.â€
Wong isnâ€™t limiting his scope to the Bible, with plans to create what he calls â€œe-books on steroidsâ€ for other popular titles. He also sees opportunity around textbooks. But the Bible makes sense from a market perspective in part because people routinely pick-up a copy throughout their lives.
â€œIt is really perfect for collaboration and sharing,â€ said Wong. â€œYou can imagine a pastor sharing notes with their congregation or doing a Bible study with a group of friends.â€
ooBible is an integrated reading experience, where notes and highlights can be shared across multiple Bible versions, on the iPhone, iPad, Android, RIM, Windows Mobile and the web, PR Leap adds. What separates it from other Bible websites is a focus on the social experience, enabling users to follow the teachings of popular Bible teachers in their readings. Pastors can engage their congregation in a shared reading plan and users can start up study groups to keep each other motivated and accountable.
“In olden times, the written word was read out loud to be heard. But all that changed with the Gutenberg press. We went from one shared scroll to everyone having their own personal Bibles. Now weâ€™ve come back full circle where you not only have your own Bible, but you can also re-experience the reading together, through technology. A shared reading experience enriches everyone involved because people multiply their understanding, through different perspectives. Itâ€™s about finding meaning in what youâ€™re reading,” says Wong.