Location: Amarillo, TX
Branded app: goHastings Readmor App
Hastings Entertainment is a successful brick and mortar chain with more than 140 locations in the United States. Their entertainment superstores sell new and used books, music, videos, games and more. Hastings recognized that their loyal customers had a growing interest in eBooks. The company decided to integrate the sale of eBooks into their already successful goHastings website—to retain their loyal customers and compete for new customers in the growing eBook market. They committed themselves to delivering a seamless end-to-end mobile shopping and reading experience.
Hastings turned to Bluefire Productions to build the goHastings Readmor apps for iOS and Android. They also decided to launch their own white-label Android device, again with the help of Bluefire. The Readmor app for Android gives customers the ability to shop for books and read books in the Hastings branded and managed environment. Customers can download the app on their Android phone or tablet, or purchase a device in a Hastings store. The device sold in the stores has the Readmor app pre-installed, so new users can shop and read right away.
The Bluefire powered Readmor app enables customers to explore the hundreds of thousands of eBooks on sale goHastings.com. Now, Hastings loyal customers can build their personal eBook collections with new releases, a deep catalog of backlist titles, free eBooks and more.
The iOS Readmor app makes it easy for iPhone and iPad users to download and read previously purchased eBooks. iOS users can also shop through the mobile Safari browser.
Feedback from customers (old and new) has been very positive. Vicki Maloney, Director of eCommerce at Hastings Entertainment noted that the app, “has been a turning point in helping shift our presence to being mobile. Now, with the customized Hastings Readmor App we are able to provide that end-to-end experience for our customers and give them what they want in the format they want it in.”
The Bluefire Platform
Bluefire Reader integrates Adobe® digital publishing technologies, the most widely used eBook distribution and reading system. The Adobe Reader Mobile-based applications support ePUB and PDF content, including files protected by Adobe Content Server (ACS) encryption technology.
Founded in 1968, Hastings Entertainment, Inc. is a leading multimedia entertainment retailer that combines the sale of new and used books, videos, video games and CDs, and trends and consumer electronics merchandise, with the rental of videos and video games in a superstore format. They currently operate 140 superstores, averaging approximately 24,000 square feet, primarily in medium-sized markets throughout the United States. They also operate three concept stores, Sun Adventures Sports, located in Amarillo, Texas and Lubbock Texas, and TRADESMART, located in Littleton, Colorado.
www.goHastings.com is an e-commerce Internet Web site that makes available to our customers new and used entertainment products and unique, contemporary gifts and toys. The site features exceptional product and pricing offers.
(This is the first post in a series of introductions to the Bluefire team.)
Jason Sacks, Bluefire Project Manager
Hi, I’m Jason Sacks and I’m the Project Manager at Bluefire Productions. I manage the processes and workflows around our white-label eReader products. I have about twelve years experience in the computer industry, most recently as the Release Manager for the Windows Protocols team at Microsoft. I joined Bluefire in the summer of 2011 and am really delighted to be part of a company that is making a real impact eReading.
I have a particular passion for eReader technology because I’m a voracious reader. My favorite books are nonfiction works about history and economics. These types of books help provide a deep perspective on our complex world. I really believe that the only way to understand the future is to understand the past, so I find history to be endlessly fascinating.
My other great reading passion is in graphic novels. I’ve read comic books since I was a kid, and as an adult I have grown a deeper passion for this art form. The graphic novel is a medium for really interesting work these days. It’s an infinitely malleable medium that offers amazing and unique storytelling opportunities that one can’t find in any other format.
Yeah, you can see I have a passion for this stuff, which is why I also own and manage a comic and pop culture website, Comics Bulletin. I work with a team of about 40 writers and editors and we cover all kinds of aspects of pop culture and “geek culture”, including TV, movies and video games. I think it’s a pretty great site and we run a lot of outstanding writing. It’s pretty much all run by volunteers, but we produce a lot of content every day for the site. Thankfully I have a great team that keeps me from having to spend all my nights and weekends working on site business.
Obviously with this background in technology and love for comics, you can see why I have a deep passion for eReading technology. As a company, we need to find ways to help companies improve and streamline the experience of reading ebooks and comics on iPad and Android devices. More than that, though, we need to work to make the device invisible for the user.
Just as you seldom think about the actual three-dimensional book that you’re reading, you should also seldom think about the actual tablet or phone that you’re reading on. The real trick when working on these apps is to allow the reader to feel engrossed in their book, to create apps that help readers to connect to the material they love without feeling the electronics sitting in their way.
A small, nimble and extremely entrepreneurial company like Bluefire is the perfect place to be tacking these complex issues in smart ways. Because we can think on our feet and innovate quickly, Bluefire is in the perfect position to have a dialogue with our users and clients about the best ways to make the right choices in eReader technology. I’m loving this journey so far, and can’t wait to see how this business evolves.
Going to Digital Book World? Come see us. We’re exhibiting and would love to meet with you! Contact us to setup a meeting or just drop by.
Digital Book World 2012 runs from January 23rd to 25th at the New York Sheraton.