Pronoun (publishing platform)

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Parent companyMacmillan Publishers
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City
No. of employees11

Pronoun was a New York–based company that provides free book publishing, marketing, and analytics services to authors. Pronoun was launched in 2015.[1]

Founded as Vook, the company was renamed Pronoun following acquisitions of publishing analytics platform Booklr and short-form ebook publisher Byliner.[2] In May 2016, Pronoun was acquired by Macmillan Publishers,[3] who discontinued publishing on the platform in 2018.


Pronoun was preceded by Vook, a digital book publisher that combined text, video, and links to the internet and social media into singular applications available both online and as mobile applications.[4] Vook was founded by serial Internet entrepreneur Bradley Inman and was announced in April 2009.[5]

Vook was launched October 1, 2009, with four debut titles, published in partnership with Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster: Promises, a romance by Jude Deveraux; The 90 Second Fitness Solution, a fitness book by Pete Cerqua; Embassy, a thriller by Richard Doetsch; and Return to Beauty, a health book by Narine Nikogosian.[6]

In January 2010 Vook raised $2.5 million in seed financing from a group of prominent Silicon Valley and New York investors including Ron Conway, Michael Maples and Kenneth Lerer.[7] In December 2010, Vook raised $5.25 million in Series A financing.[8] Investors in this round included VantagePoint Venture Partners and FLOODGATE.[8][9]

In 2010, Vook, in partnership with NBC Universal and Perseus Books, launched JFK: 50 Days, an interactive eBook, and the Video Guide series of eBooks, among other apps and eBooks. In 2011, Vook launched several new series of titles, including TextVook (animated eBooks and apps on academic subjects) and Brief Histories (historical overviews of popular subjects enhanced with video and text), in partnership with Charles River Editors.[10][failed verification] Vook partnered with ABC News to create several enhanced eBooks, including A Modern Fairy Tale: William, Kate, and Three Generations of Royal Love, TARGET: Bin Laden – The Life and Death of Public Enemy Number One, and The Amanda Knox Story.

In 2012, Vook launched a platform for self-publishing ebook creation. The platform included management of multiple titles, a WYSIWYG editor, metadata, media management, push-button publishing to multiple ebook stores, and optional additional services such as marketing consultations and copyediting.[11][12]

Byliner [edit]

In 2012, The New York Times[13] and Byliner[14] co-published Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, by New York Times reporter John Branch.[15][16] More titles at 10,000 to 20,000 words, were written, for sale at $2 or $3,[17] for reading in a single sitting.[15]

Byliner[18] stories
  • Amy Tan Rules for Virgins
  • Ann Patchett The Getaway Car
  • Buzz Bissinger After Friday Night Lights
  • David Leonhardt Here's the Deal: How Washington Can Solve the Deficit and Spur Growth OCLC 837631547[19][20]
  • Nick Hornby Everyone's Reading Bastard
  • Richard Russo Nate in Venice
  • Tony Horwitz Boom (Keystone XL pipeline)[21][22]

In 2014, Vook acquired Byliner, a digital imprint.[23]

Change to Pronoun[edit]

In 2015, Vook was renamed Pronoun, a self-publishing and analytics platform for authors.[24] In May 2016, the major publishing house Macmillan bought the firm, which retained its brand. [25]


In November 2017, Macmillan announced the closing of Pronoun, with no new authors or books being accepted. Legacy writers were told they could continue their account activities with already submitted materials at the time. Macmillan terminated distribution in mid-January 2018.[26]


  1. ^ Biggs, John (3 October 2015). "Pronoun, A Self-Publishing Platform For Authors, Is Ready To Serve Humanity".
  2. ^ "Vook Relaunches as Free Self-Publishing Platform Pronoun". 19 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Macmillan Buys Self-Publishing Platform Pronoun".
  4. ^ Rich, Motoko (September 30, 2009). "Curling Up With Hybrid Books, Videos Included". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Stone, Brad (April 4, 2009). "Is This the Future of the Digital Book?". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Plesser, Andy (September 30, 2009). "Video: Simon & Schuster Authors on "Game-Changing" Platform for Digital Book/Video Hybrid with a new "Vook"". The Huffington Post.
  7. ^ Dealbook. "Vook, an E-Book Start-Up, Raises $2.5 Million". The New York Times.
  8. ^ a b Vook Funding, 18 January 2011
  9. ^ Digital Publisher Vook Closes $5.25 Million Financing
  10. ^ "Charles River Editors".
  11. ^ Teicher, Craig Morgan (March 26, 2012). "Vook Launches E-book Creation and Publishing Platform". Publishers Weekly.
  12. ^ McCartney, Jennifer (Feb 14, 2014). "Which E-Book Publisher Is Right for You?". Publishers Weekly.
  13. ^ "E-Singles available at Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble". New York Times Store. Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  14. ^ Moreno, R. B. (1 July 2011). "Three Cups of Veritas: A Review of". Center for Literary Publishing. Fort Collins, Colorado: College of Liberal Arts, Colorado State University. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  15. ^ a b "The New York Times and Byliner Publish SNOW FALL". PRWeb. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  16. ^ Hoge, Patrick (April 17, 2013). "Byliner publishes award winning material". San Francisco Business Times. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  17. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (December 13, 2012). "NY Times jumps into mini digital book market (Update)". Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  18. ^ "The New York Times and Byliner Publish Here's the Deal: How Washington Can Solve the Deficit and Spur Growth". GlobeNewswire News Room (Press release). 11 February 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  19. ^ Leonhardt, David. "Here's the Deal (Kindle Single) eBook". Kindle Store. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
  20. ^ "Here's the Deal (Kindle Single) eBook". 2021-03-24. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  21. ^ Horwitz, Tony. BOOM: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush That Could Change America Forever. Retrieved 22 May 2022 – via
  22. ^ Horwitz, Tony (19 June 2014). "Opinion: I Was a Digital Best Seller!". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  23. ^ "Vook Acquires Byliner". Publishers Weekly. September 11, 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  24. ^ Reid, Calvin (2015-05-19). "Vook Pivots, Becomes Self-Pub Platform Pronoun". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  25. ^ "Macmillan Buys Self-Publishing Platform Pronoun".
  26. ^ "Macmillan's Pronoun Self-Publishing Platform Signs off". 6 November 2017.

External links[edit]