Q&A with Inkitt CEO Ali Albazaz: A Decade of Digital Storytelling Innovation

Ali Albazaz
Photo Credit: Inkitt

Only a handful of companies have made a significant impact in the digital publishing industry, and Inkitt is one of those leading the forefront with its innovative approach. Celebrating its 11th anniversary, Inkitt takes pride in its power of innovation, data-driven decisions, and a commitment to democratizing the publishing industry. The team sat down with Ali Albazaz, the CEO of Inkitt, to delve deep into the company’s journey, its unique approach to publishing, and what the future holds.

Decade of Innovation:

Inkitt had celebrated a decade of innovation. Can you share some of the most pivotal moments and decisions that have shaped the company’s journey over the past decade?

Ali Albazaz:

One of the most important moments in Inkitt’s history was when we decided to be the writers of our own journey. We were helping our authors self-publish their works on Amazon for a few years but hit a ceiling in growth and sales. We took it as a sign to cut out the middleman, which led us to launch our own distribution platform, Galatea, where we had access to more data points that enabled us to grow, and our authors to earn more royalties. With recent AI advancements, we’ve been able to continue improving the storytelling experience for readers– introducing features such as custom audiobook narrator, paragraph recaps, character chat, and more.  

Data-Driven Approach:

Inkitt is known for its unique, data-driven approach to publishing. How has leveraging AI and data analytics changed the traditional publishing landscape, and what challenges did you face in implementing this model?

Ali Albazaz:

The success debut authors experience when they are published by Inkitt goes unmatched. Because of our reader-powered, data-driven approach, we’ve been able to launch blockbuster books at a higher rate than traditional publishers– 60% of the authors we publish go on to become bestsellers. It’s a craft we’ve become extremely skilled at and continue to refine. 17 titles in our catalog have reached over $1 million in sales, with our most popular title, The Millennium Wolves, reaching over $14 million in sales.

Success Stories:

With a remarkable percentage of Inkitt-discovered authors becoming bestsellers, what do you believe sets the company apart in identifying and nurturing literary talent?

Ali Albazaz:

Instead of putting the publishing decision in the hands of an expert, we rely 100% on what the readers tell us through their reading behaviors. If they love a story, we publish it. After all, books are published for readers to enjoy. 

Galatea’s Growth:

Since the launch of the Galatea app in 2018, it has become one of the fastest-growing reading platforms. How do you envision its future in the coming years?

Ali Albazaz:

Our vision of Galatea has always been beyond developing the best reading app. I believe the future of entertainment is going to be hyper-personalized, which is why we’re working towards building the most data and AI-driven entertainment company. In the coming years, people will be able to enjoy Galatea stories beyond text and audio. We’re already working on episodic video content, TV shows and movies, and merchandise. In the future, we plan to venture into video games, theme parks, and beyond. 

Financial Times Recognition:

Being named the #1 fastest-growing company in Germany and 8th in Europe is a significant achievement. How has this recognition impacted Inkitt’s operations and vision for the future?

Ali Albazaz:

Earning this recognition was a proud moment for us. It’s truly a testament to our team’s dedication and commitment to our mission of discovering hidden talents and turning them into globally successful authors. It also validates all our efforts, and we’re taking it as an indicator that we’re headed in the right direction.

Future Innovations:

Inkitt has introduced several groundbreaking features, such as the “Choose Your Own Narrator” audiobook feature and the AI chatbot for readers. Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming innovations or expansions Inkitt is working on?

Ali Albazaz:

We’ve launched a video streaming platform, GalateaTV, where we adapt bestselling Galatea novels into mini-episodic shows. It’s thrilling to bring our authors’ stories to life in a new format and reach wider audiences. Additionally, we’re exploring the integration of AI into the GalateaTV production process to generate scenes, various elements of episode, and potentially entire series. 

Democratizing Publishing:

Inkitt’s mission revolves around democratizing publishing and giving power to the readers. How do you see this philosophy evolving as the publishing industry changes, and what role will Inkitt play in shaping its future?

Ali Albazaz:

Inkitt has been democratizing publishing and empowering readers. As AI technology continues to mature, it is going to be an integral tool across various sectors, including publishing. We envision helping authors worldwide seamlessly integrate AI into their creative process, functioning as an indispensable writing companion and assistant. By empowering authors to harness AI capabilities, we aspire to help authors around the world enhance their craft, ultimately elevating the essence of storytelling overall. 

Inkitt’s journey over the past decade is reflected in its power of innovation, community, and a commitment to redefining norms. As the company looks ahead, it remains crystal clear that its influence on the digital publishing landscape will prosper. The future of storytelling is in good hands with leaders like Ali Albazaz at the helm.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


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