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Dallas-based bookshout! announced today it raised $6 million in venture capital funding to expand its digital book distribution and community-building platform.

It’s the latest fundraising and evolution for bookshout! and its corporate parent Rethink Books.

The venture-backed capital also represents a sizable investment for a Dallas startup. Venture capital investment in North Texas has been lackluster in recent years.

“It’s always challenging especially in the environment [where] Dallas isn’t always known for doing tech,” said bookshout! CEO Jason Illian. “Hopefully it’ll bring some excitement.”

Illian founded the startup two years ago when he saw technology disrupting the traditional brick-and-mortar book industry. The startup initially focused on Christian publishing but as the market continued to evolve, Illian said the company did as well. It is focusing on tools to help publishers and authors sells books and build social communities around reading.

The bookshout! platform allows publishers and authors to sell books in bulk, hold special sales and promotions. The technology also allows authors to create community pages where they can communicate directly with readers who join.

“On our platform, authors could sell their books and stay connected to their audiences,” Illian said.

For instance, Nolan Bushnell, author of “Finding the Next Steve Jobs,” and, which is sponsoring his book tour, is using bookshout! to engage readers.

bookshout! is available on Apple, Android and Kindle HD devices as well as the web.

As the book business continues its shift into digital, Illian hopes bookshout! becomes a “solid player” in that space.

The company, which is based at the Plano incubator Gravity Centre, has 12 employees, including one in the U.K. as it looks to expand internationally.

Illian said bookshout! is generating revenue and on its way to become profitable soon.

Ambassador Technologies of Fort Wayne, Ind., led the Series B fundraising round. The venture capital firm also led bookshout!’s initial $2 million round in 2011.

In the first quarter, venture capital investors committed $366.4 million in seven companies in North Texas, according to the MoneyTree report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association. The report is based on data provided by Thomson Reuters.

Frisco-based telecommunications firm Genband’s deal represented $343.5 million the total. The company converted some longterm debt into equity, so the money wasn’t new capital.

Without the Genband deal, first-quarter investments were $22.9 million. That’s down from $28.3 million in 11 companies during the first quarter of last year.