What it is: Books by text message. Or at least really boiled-down themes of books, delivered by text message. The idea is to help consumers with this problem: You read a book and you like it, but two weeks later you can't recall the lessons in it. If the book has a partnership with Moka, you can sign up for its subscription service, and the messages of the books are distilled to succinct text messages, delivered daily to your phone.
The reasoning: Moka hopes to help users retain the content from a variety of nonfiction books -- self-help, academic, religious and any other book that fits the category. "We're in information overload," said founder Michael Donahue. "With so much information coming at us, it's hard to remember everything. Moka is about breaking down books to the key points ... the whole focus is around learning and knowledge management."
The name: Stands for "mobile knowledge assistant."
Business model: The financial plan is built around subscriptions. As a person is actively subscribed to an "mBook," Moka commits a royalty back to the author. "We're effectively a publisher," Mr. Donahue said. "We're creating mBooks of all the major public-domain books, many important religious books, philosophy books, history books. But the initial target is the self-help market." Authors on board: Lots in the self-help/religion genre, including Wayne Dyer, Dan Millman and Sylvia Browne.
The rub for the publishers: Mr. Donahue touts Moka as a new way to monetize existing properties, especially older titles. If it helps the reader increase his or her understanding of the material and feel more connected with the author, it can only be positive, he said. Plus, "when they're done with that we can connect them to a couple other books from the same author."