Qiozk started as an exciting project in 2009, to create a digital kiosk where publishers had full freedom to sell and market their own magazines as they saw fit. We were early. There was no iPad at the time, in-app purchases were a new concept and the Android market (as Google Play was called back then) wasn't even available in Sweden (which was our market). We didn't care much to analyse the market or construct various business plans, there were too many unknown variables so it wouldn't be more than guesses anyway. We just thought that it was a fun project we could do, so why not just do it? Many publishers seemed to also like the idea, and pushed Qiozk in their magazines and on their web sites. I cannot express how great it feels to get that kind of support for something you do - I especially want to thank everybody for this.
We also tried to sell digital subscriptions but that was harder than anticipated. Magazines have a high circulation of people working for them, and it was devastating when a publisher forgot to upload new issues to their paying customers. We were the app's publisher so the reader complained to us (naturally), but we couldn't do anything but pass along their request (and if our contact had quit, it could take a while before new magazines arrived). It was also a bit strange that we should be middle men between the publisher and the reader - why sell through us when you can sell directly? The reader does not want anything from us, just to read the contents of their magazines. As a distributer or platform you are completely uninteresting to a consumer, they just want to read. You can of-course argue that the reading experience is worth paying for, but the platform is secondary at best.
Qiozk Solo was launched 2013, it was our white-label magazine app platform to distribute magazines digitally in your own app. The idea was simple: remove all middlemen, which in this case just happened to be ourselves. Reader and magazine should be in direct contact with each other. A publisher sell subscriptions themselves and if an issue is missing the reader can contact the publisher directly - since the app and the magazine has the same sender. If you like a magazine you look for it in the Appstore or on the web, you don't go looking for a distributer. The publisher has their own relations with their own customers via their own customer databases or subscription systems that uses their own accounts, in their own apps. It just makes so much more sense that way. It also makes more sense economically. All the proceeds, all benefit from the publishers efforts (marketing, etc) they put into their apps, goes directly to them. There is no provision or other cuts on sales publishers need to share with us - we have a fixed fee that remains unchanged no matter how popular the app gets. To make this point 100% obvious, these apps doesn't have any Qiozk-branding anywhere. Not even the startup screen. To my knowlede no other competitor dares to do something similar.
I keep referring to my company as "us" and that "we" are doing things, since that is how things were until a few years ago. Today I'm the sole owner of this company, and the only employee. That means I develop everything myself, every line of code, every new feature, and all design (iOS, Android and everything on the web). It also means that I am doing all marketing and sales as well, which I don't enjoy as much. Selling stuff is fun since you get to meet people, and in the publishing business you always meet interesting passionated people. But I find it very exhausting, and after a meeting I usually need the rest of the day off to recuperate. What it boils down to is that I really enjoy being solo, but it requires focus. I simply can't have a big service like Qiozk and at the same time try to build the Solo platform.
Qiozk will not be abandoned but will instead turn into something new. I will try to promote the apps that exists in the ecosystem and let those who want to remain in Qiozk do so, for as long as possible. Gradually their readers will be moved over to their own apps.
Last but not least I want to thank everyone, both publishers and readers, for making Qiozk such a great service. It has been 7 fun years - sometimes a bit too stressful, but always interesting.