Stranger than fiction: How bound will change the way you read

When Matthew and Jennifer Hannus founded Bound, a prose fiction startup, they originally planned on hiring an in-house development team. That was the plan, anyway, until they realized that Gigster could deliver a better, more inexpensive product faster.

The husband and wife duo are newcomers to the publishing industry, but they plan to shake up the way stories are published and read when they introduce their mobile prose fiction platform this spring.

Bound’s Roots In The Gaming Industry

Matthew Hannus spent over 10 years in gaming and co-founded Sleepy Giant Entertainment, a company that developed large-scale technology platforms for game franchises like Call of Duty and Pokémon.

Hannus was originally drawn to games as a storytelling medium but in time he wanted to find a better way to tell stories. It became clear that the paradigm shift in how narrative comes together in the world of gaming could be enhanced by the platform shift to mobile that was happening at the same time. This intersection of change was clearly an historic opportunity for one of mankind’s most primal traditions.

Story itself has been around for millennia: community elders once told stories over campfires. Each new medium has given us new ways to share our common history and expand our consciousness. Campfires gave way to cave paintings which in turn was replaced by text. Three of the greatest technology shifts in human history are the Gutenberg printing press, movies and the internet. Each of these radically changed the stories we tell and how we tell them.

The most successful medium has remained print and not much has changed in this area since the invention of the printing press. Books may have moved to digital formats like Kindle but they still mimic the physical form. Readers still turn pages, and stories are in chapter format. The delivery has changed but the conventions have not.

The shift to mobile fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Instead of talking we text, Snapchat or Yo. We date differently (Tinder), travel differently (Uber), and no longer have to guess if a restaurant is any good (Yelp). Which begs the obvious question: why hasn’t the world’s oldest and most adaptable practice caught the mobile wave?

Prose Fiction Built For Mobile

That’s where Matthew and Jennifer Hannus and Bound come in. Bound may just be the biggest technological advance that has happened to storytelling since Gutenberg. Instead of copying a physical book, Bound will publish stories that are tailored to the unique characteristics of mobile.

The average mobile session length lasts only five minutes. That means stories on mobile need to be packaged in short, manageable chunks that users can read while waiting in line for their espresso.

Just like mobile games often have character profiles and their own worlds to enhance the user experience, Bound will provide a context that reinforces its stories. Readers can use in-depth companion material to discover more about the story itself, the characters, and the world of the story.

Bound’s mobile platform allows for an integrated community. In the past, communities that revolved around a particular book were review-oriented and were formed separately from the story itself. Bound, however, enables readers and authors alike to interact with each other while reading.

Bound will also make prose fiction service-oriented, like the mobile gaming industry. Readers typically read a book only one time which means that traditional publishing experiences high turnover on best-seller lists. Bound plans to change that with episodic stories that grow like best-selling games do. Readers, like gamers, can go back to their favorite narrative again and again for new content.

Partnering With Gigster Provided A Better Product Faster and Cheaper

Bound’s product journey began on paper. Hannus drew up early prototypes himself, a process he says was key in getting early user feedback. That feedback helped Hannus refine Bound’s scope and user experience.

Even though Hannus built the first prototype himself, he isn’t a developer and knew he would need to partner with great engineers to take it to the next level. Bound worked with a development shop early on to build on Hannus’s prototype after which Hannus planned to hire his own in-house development team. All of that changed when he heard of Gigster.

After his initial meeting with Gigster, he was impressed. Gigster was faster, better, and more affordable than hiring in-house. Through Gigster, he would have access to engineers who worked for some of the Silicon Valley’s greatest companies, like Google and Facebook, and who graduated from some of the best technology schools, like Stanford and Caltech.

That kind of talent would be hard to find and expensive to hire on his own. Gigster, however, offered him the best of the best at a price Hannus’s currently self-financed startup could afford. Bound, Hannus says, “is built around great storytelling.” What it needed was to partner with a company like Gigster that is “built around great engineers.”

And that partnership has been successful. As Bound moves toward releasing the beta version (sign up to try it out here!) in May of this year, Hannus has found that working with Gigster reduces the risks involved with the development of startup technology. He refers to Gigster as “his secret weapon.”

The Gigster model helped Hannus streamline development. Dealing with just a product manager instead of individual developers has simplified the process of moving from a prototype to the final product.

Hannus’s Advice: Give Gigster’s Outsourcing Model A Try

His advice to entrepreneurs? Even if “you’ve ruled out outsourcing, don’t rule out Gigster.” Outsourcing itself may seem like a hassle, but Gigster streamlines the process and offers affordable development that results in a better product faster.

Ready to start your project with the same talent that built apps for Google and Facebook? Get your guaranteed quote now!

Whitney Cole

Whitney is perfecting the balance between writing and coaxing giggles out of her daughter. She loves meeting Gigster's clients and sharing their incredible stories. When she's not writing, you can probably find her attempting to train her German Shepherd to fetch her coffee or reading something by Hilary Mantel.