Micah Bowers

More consumers are turning to electronic reading devices. And Seattle’s Bluefire Productions, which emerged from founder Micah Bower’s 10-year-old design and development services company last year, is looking to help booksellers make the transition.

Bowers is at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week, showcasing the company’s iOS and Android applications for publishers and booksellers. The Bluefire service allows publishers to integrate technologies such as in-app purchases and account management.

We chatted with the 44-year-old entrepreneur to get an inside look at Bluefire, which is being used by Canada’s Archambault and others to distribute book titles via iOS and Android.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We develop software that gives eBook retailers and publishers a way to sell their books and other content to consumers through mobile apps on iPads, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android tablets and smartphones.”

Inspiration hit us when: “We realized that distributing digital documents to mobile devices in a secure, managed and branded way is going to be valuable to any business or institution — not just eBook retailers.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap, because the eBook marketplace is evolving extremely rapidly, and we wanted maximum freedom and flexibility to be nimble and turn on a dime.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: Our fanatical focus on creating a ludic reading experience for long format content — where the device and the application ‘disappears’ and the reader is completely immersed in the content.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Focusing on creating a great platform that levels the playing field for book retailers and publishers on mobile devices rather than becoming a retailer ourselves.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Thinking that once we had built our iOS app that it would be easier and faster to build on Android. It was much harder.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg. Integration with social network API’s are an important part of our roadmap.

Our world domination strategy starts when: “Large enterprises and institutions realize the value of distributing digital content to their employees, customers, and investors on mobile devices in a managed and branded way.”

Rivals should fear us because: “We have the lead, and it will get bigger.”

We are truly unique because: “We are a team with extremely strong technical chops in digital content technologies, a deep understanding of the eBook marketplace, and a fanatical focus on long format reading user experience. We’re also not affiliated with any particular major player in the space and thus can help anyone who wants to play.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Going from an unknown brand to a globally recognized brand in the eBook technology space.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Focus on solving small parts of big problems quickly and get it out into the market and then listen and learn as you iterate.”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send a couple photos of the founder(s) and company logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.

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