Biggest crowdfunding Success

How a hoax turned into the biggest Dutch crowdfunding success in history

It has been an open secret for years, but Borders confirmed that the book industry was truly in trouble by filing for bankruptcy in 2011. A reputable chain of 399 physical stores vanished, demonstrating that name and reputation alone are not enough in this time of internet and mobile domination. While hardcover books are still outselling their digital equivalents, there is no doubt that a major shift is already underway. Printed book sales fell by £98m last year in the UK alone. The loss of shelf space and traditional discovery mechanisms is literally begging for new entrants to the market. New online initiatives such as Oyster and Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library show that new — all you can eat — business models have the potential to revolutionize the book market, just as Spotify has in the music industry.

In the Netherlands, Polare followed a path similar to Borders. The bookstore chain filed for bankruptcy last February, just 8 months after its introduction in June 2013. The company was newly formed by merging two of the largest Dutch bookstore chains, both of which were in financial trouble. Polare briefly ran 20 high profile branches throughout the country. Yet, the new owner, Dutch investment company ProCures, seemingly never took the opportunity to innovate while building this new brand. Probably the main reason for Polare’s short-life. We, Tim Gouw and Maarten van den Heuvel, were stunned by this observation and decided to shake things up a bit.

After a long Sunday afternoon in a local coffeehouse, we launched (in English: “Polare continues”). A single page website presented as if it was published by Polare itself, showing their latest and most innovative plans to save the chain from its seemingly inevitable bankruptcy. Offering the revolutionary concept of ‘Polare Experiences’, a yearly subscription service to help readers get the most out of stories. Soon after launching the site, it gained massive attention through social media. Our servers were overloaded within minutes. Everybody in the Dutch book scene was talking about this. While there was initially some confusion, the truth eventually came out that this was actually a hoax.

Subscriptions on the fake page

Nevertheless, there were still 20 bookstores out there about to close their doors and hundreds of employees fearing for their jobs. So we wondered: can we turn this hoax into something bigger? With the right dose of creativity, fresh ideas and innovation, there’s surely still a huge market for local brick and mortar bookstores. Together with a small group of highly respectable book retailers and industry experts, we decided that something had to be done in order to save these beautiful stores.

Probably not the new Mega Man you're hoping for

by Kinsaras

But maybe someone will be interested in this.
Mega Man board game pre-orders begin at $79.99
By Emily Gera on Feb 20, 2014 at 6:00a @twitgera
Classic gaming franchise Mega Man is being adapted into a board game by developers at Jasco Games, a collective best known as as publisher of the Universal Fighting System collectible card card.
A crowdfunding campaign to aid in the funding of the board game, cards and other materials success came to an end late last year after reaching $415,041 in pledges - hundreds of thousands over its initial $70,000 funding goal

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