Read Startup Communities With Me On BookShout!

I don’t think I’m breaking new ground by saying that book publishing is going through a rapid transformation. I’ve learned a lot about traditional publishing after working with Wiley for the past few years on Do More Faster, Venture Deals, Startup Communities, and Startup Life. I’ve also experimented with self-publishing with HyperInk for the book Burning Entrepreneur. And, as I continue to publish books in the Startup Revolution series, you’ll see a lot more experimentation from me, both around the writing and publishing process, as well as with regard to engaging with everyone reading these books.

Recently, I starting pondering what would happen if a book wasn’t simply static content, but an actively-engaging, community-building platform?  What if a class could read and share notes, an executive team could collaborate around a book, or a community of readers could interact within the text itself?

I recently found a social reading technology called BookShout!, and, after spending some time with them, think they are addressing a lot of things I want in my current book reading experience. As a result, I’ve launched Startup Communities: Creating an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your City on BookShout!

If you download the book and join the community, you not only get the book, but you can also connect with me, see my notes, invite others to join you, and create robust communities and in-line conversations inside the book.

To help entrepreneurs worldwide, Startup America is also using its full resources to reach out to millions of entrepreneurs so that we can all read the book together.  Leaders of Startup America, including Steve Case (the founder of AOL) and Scott Case (the CEO of Startup America) are going to read and share their notes as well.

We listen to music together and go to movies together – now we can read books together.  I hope you’ll join me, participate, and give me feedback on what you think.

SPECIAL OFFER:  Thanks to BookShout! and Startup America, I’m giving away 250 free digital copies of Startup Communities on BookShout!  The first 250 people to create an account at and send an email to will get a copy.  All I ask in return is that you make notes on areas that help you, invite others, and engage with me, give me feedback on what you think.

  • Colin Winter

    Very cool! I’ll add thoughts from my time running e-tower, the ‘competitive’ living community for student entrepreneurs at Babson. Much has happened since… There’s definitely a differentiation between student and ‘real world’ startup life, and that’s actually why I feel it’s important for students get exposed to that more serious environment, to prepare them for later, if not to help them determine if entrepreneurship is for them.
    That being said, I’ll submit the argument for where (in specific cases) an exclusive community (over your proposal of ‘all inclusive’) can work better, as it can hold its members more accountable for making progress. Educational institutions are already essentially exclusive and leverage this aspect of motivation to an extent. I guess I’ll have to read the book and tie in my thoughts to your context.

  • Jess Bachman

    You’re starting to sound like Seth Godin. BookShout looks really cool… but I am not sure what I am buying on that page. Am I purchasing the kindle or ebook? Or something separate on the BS platform?

    • jasonillian

      Jess…I’m biased of course, but we think BookShout! is pretty cool too! 😉

      To be clear–and I agree that it is not as clear as it should be yet (we have a new homepage and navigation coming out soon)–we are a free social reading application. The technology to share and interact with books is free, and some of the books are free as well. But like any retail channel, you do have to purchase most major titles. It’s how we can afford to give the technology away free–charge for the books.

      Brad still has some ebooks he is giving away free. Just email us at and get a copy before they are gone!

      • Jess Bachman

        I’m still confused. I get you have to buy the books. But are the books able to be read outside of BookShout? If not, I think thats a serious problem. I don’t want my library fragmented into non-compatible formats. If that’s not the case, then yeah.. should be more clear.

        • Sidd

          Neat idea, guys! On a related note (fragmented libraries), I already have Do More Faster on my reading list and on my Kindle. Will the notes etc be able to sync? Thanks!

          • jasonillian

            Not right now. Amazon will not open an API (or any other form) to allow you to export your notes. We are working on more creative ways to make it happen, but unfortunately, the Kindle team has made it very clear that you are “their” customer. In fact, if you read the Terms of Service, you don’t own the book you are buying from Amazon. You are licensing it and they can take it away at any time for nearly any reason.

        • Mstalton


        • jasonillian

          Jess…we have the ability to allow a user to import your Kindle or Nook books into the platform, and are working with the publishers to make it a reality. We can technically do it, but need permission of the rights holders to allow it. I don’t want my library fragmented either, but right now, most retailers want you to “lock you in” to their store/reading platform. It’s a growing problem which we think we can help solve.

  • Dave Crenshaw

    Cool! I’ll sure check that out.

  • jasonillian

    Brad….Thanks for your support! Glad you are bullish on BookShout! Our team has worked very hard. Still much to do….but we value your feedback and those of other users to continuously make improvements. We simply want to serve readers (and authors) by allowing them to share, experience, and interact with books in ways they never thought possible.

  • Ivan Mojsilovic

    I’ve just signed up!

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