Lars Damgaard
strategic user experience designer
July 7th 2013

Mofibo: a danish spotify for books

Some months ago, I wrote about Readmill: the social ebook reading experience. I praised the design and the overall user experience, but at the same time I argued that because I have so many physical books and so few ebooks, I needed Readmill (or someone else) to create a Spotify for books rather than just a good reader.

Mofibo: streaming danish books

Readmill is still just Readmill. And I still like it, though I hardly ever use it for anything but professional literature, because most novels I read are still physical books. But this might change soon.

Morten Strunge, a danish serial entrepreneur, has recently launched Mofibo which aims to become a Spotify for books. I have used it during the weekend and at a first glance it seems to be everything I asked for in my original post. The price of Mofibo is the same as Spotify, which feels fair as long as the content is vast and good.

I managed to find a good book in a few seconds and during my initial browsing, I found myself eagerly adding more good books to my digital bookshelf that I look forward to read during my summer holidays.

I was afraid that it would be the usual selection of mainstream literature, but I was happy to see that there was a wide selection of really good Scandinavian authors such as Hans Otto Jørgensen, Karl Ove Knausgård, Erlend Loe and Per Pettersson to name a few.

How should Mofibo improve?

In general, Mofibo still feels a bit rough. I had a really hard time signing up, but got it working after a while. The app still has small bugs, which is hardly acceptable for a commercial product in the long run.

Furthermore, it surprises me that the app feels so closed – as opposed to a digital ecosystem. I have created myself a Mofibo profile, but it’s not available anywhere outside the app. I can follow my friends and access my “bookshelf” and my “readinglist” but only from the app, not on the website and so on.

As a user experience designer, I think I would have done that differently, but who knows what the Mofibo roadmap contains, perhaps it’s all in the pipeline.

Will I be using it?

Though the overall user experience design leaves room for improvement, Mofibo is about books, and books are text. I don’t need (nor do I want) any fancyness surrounding the text I read. That being said, I would still love to be able read all my Mofibo books in Readmill, because all the small things that matter for a good user experience, are just so much better in Readmill, but Mofibo gives me access to the content that I want. That’s why Mofibo is very likely to enter the position that Spotify and Netflix already has in my life: something that I happily pay for every month without even thinking about it.

Will Mofibo become international?

It doesn’t say directly anywhere on the website, but I guess it will. The idea of streaming good quality literature based on a monthly fee is too good to stay within the boundaries of one (very) small country, so Denmark is probably just the beginning.

Thanks for reading.

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