ACM Digital has announced the launch of its "Myeebo" brand—touted as the first digital service and device to provide "all categories of downloadable Christian entertainment," including e-books, music, audiobooks and movies. The sister company to Nashville-based Integra Interactive, ACM will launch the ambitous endeavor Dec. 17.
"It’s the overall strategy that makes Myeebo distinctly different from others in the Christian e-commerce channel," said David Amster, chief innovation officer of ACM, who serves in the same role with Integra. "Our objective is threefold: provide independent Christian retailers with a solid digital service to give them a competitive edge with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple; significantly improve the online browsing and discovery experience for e-books and music; and create a way for retailers to partner with churches."
Amster told Christian Retailing that so far 125 retailers have signed up to offer Myeebo, including Berean Christian Stores. In the first quarter of 2013, ACM Digital plans to add another 75 stores.
"They [retailers] are selling the tablet and soliciting customers for the website and apps," he said. "The name Myeebo sprang from playing around with the words electronic and books. We added ‘my’ to personalize it."
Myeebo consists of a website; apps for iPad and iPhone, Android tablets and Kindle Fire; and ACM’s Myeebo Color Tablet. Retailing for $179, Myeebo—which took more than 18 months to develop—includes an 8-inch touch screen with features not available on the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet.
"The mix of front and rear cameras, support for 500,000-plus Android apps and priced at $179 is unparalleled," said Jay Weygandt, ACM’s vice president of customer experience, adding that many retailers have been reordering 15-50 tablets after receiving their first shipment. "We are especially pleased that those who know the most about tablets are the most enthusiastic and amazed."
The myeebo.com website is also different from other online sites selling multiple entertainment media categories.
"Far too often, too many products are featured on the homepage, which creates visual clutter," Amster explained. "We created what we call the ‘magic shelf’ that keeps the site user from having to scroll down the webpage, but still able to view new releases, best sellers, value titles and featured titles such as Gold Medallion and Carol fiction award winners."
The website—still in beta mode—is the first of its kind in the Christian channel to be fully integrated into social media, he added. Registered customers can be automatically logged back into the site through their Facebook or Twitter accounts.
David Lewis, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Baker Publishing Group, was upbeat about Myeebo.
"We think the Myeebo brand offers retailers one of the stronger solutions to compete in the marketplace for the e-book-reading customer," he said.
Mike Meece, owner of Handfuls on Purpose in Marion, Ill., agreed. "This is just the latest in a series of products they [ACM/Integra] have designed to support local, family owned businesses. They are the key to keeping us competitive in the digital age."
Integra’s myMEDIA BurnBar in-store burning system is in nearly 500 Christian stores worldwide.