Publit – reaching the reader

Q&A by Joanna Ellis, Associate Director, The Literary Platform

Forget The Bridge and Stieg Larsson – Swedish outfit Publit caught our eye at London Book Fair this year. They’ve conquered Scandinavia with their streamlined ebook and PoD distribution solution, now they’ve got their eyes set on the English language market…

REACHING THE READER

What is Publit?

In short, Publit is a service that makes it easier for every publisher – from the really small ones to the big houses – to reach readers with their eBooks and PoD books. We are the most successful publishing service for eBooks and PoD in Scandinavia, where our services are used by big publishers such as Bonnier and Norstedts and around 200 small publishers. Now we’re going global.

How did Publit come into being?

We set up Publit first and foremost because we love reading! We were frustrated by the lack of a streamlined service that enabled the simple distribution of both eBooks and PoD. We were also aware of the growing desire among publishers to engage more directly with readers, whoever and wherever they may be, but that they were struggling to find a simple way to do so. Basically, as devoted readers, we are keen to make more well produced books available to more people – we were following the gospel espoused by many entrepreneurs, namely to ‘scratch your own itch’.

How does it work?

We’ve made it really simple. Publishers upload their content to our server, select whether they want to publish as an eBook, PoD or both, select which retailers they want to aggregate to and set the price.

Publit also provides a simple way for publishers to set up their own shop and facilitates social commerce. Once a book is set up on Publit the publisher can make it available anywhere on the web, by embedding a string of code on a website, blog, Facebook page or in a tweet. For example, Harlequin Scandinavia uses Publit to sell their eBooks through their website, and Telegramor Nilledition uses Publit to sell through their Facebook pages.

What’s your business model?

Our business model is really straightforward – there is no upfront cost to publishers, we take a cut of profit from each sale.

What benefits do you think Publit offers publishers?

Publit supports publishers in a number of areas vital to their business: financial, insight and analysis, discovery, brand building and control.

We aggregate to retailers but also recognise that they demand huge discounts – especially in the anglo-saxon world! Our D2C solution offers publishers the chance to open up an additional channel to readers, one in which they have greater ownership of that relationship and make a better cut in the process. We think ramping up D2C business is strategically important for publishers: the routes to market are contracting and are controlled by a handful of powerful players – Waterstones’ deal with Amazon on Kindle being a perfect recent example – and view a variety of routes as essential for a thriving reading and publishing ecosystem.

We provide publishers with comprehensive analytics tools. We think it’s essential to the evolution of their business that they have insight into who reads what, when and where and how much they are willing to spend. Too often this insight belongs to the retailer with publishers left, essentially, blind.

PoD and eBooks offer up great long tail opportunities, but the challenge for all long tail business is discoverability. People spend more time on social sites than they do on online book stores, we’ve made it possible for publishers to sell to readers where they’re hanging out. This also facilitates brand building for publishers, turning what they do into something easy for the readers to remember and share.

It was important to us that Publit could work for every kind of publisher, from the one-person outfit to the biggest houses. That’s why we designed it as a tool kit which is fully customizable and which enables the publisher to retain end to end control.

What are your ambitions for Publit over the coming year?

We want to keep growing our customer base, and in doing so playing a key role in connecting more readers with more books. We’re also planning on expanding beyond Scandinavia, so look out world!

Publit

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