I recently saw a video presentation from an NSC Campus Lunch n’ Learn event and it featured Patrick Crowley, Digital Content Marketing Manager of ePubDirect.com. As I’m always on the look out for an interesting person to interview I thought he would be ideal seeing as they are a success story for Ireland in eBook Distribution and their recent partnership with Random House is an amazing achievement too.
Being an avid reader and writer myself I feel the contradiction that I still love reading good, old fashioned paperbacks but writing for sites online. Plus with a book inside me (as they say) just waiting to be written I, of course, am really interested in the way book publishing is going these days as I’m sure my first book will be an eBook. So I wanted to find out more about the background behind ePubdirect.com and the way it works plus learn more about Patrick Crowley himself.
Can you tell me simply what ePubDirect.com actually does?
In two words: Ebook distribution. ePubDirect is an award-winning eBook Distribution service providing global digital publishing solutions direct to publishers. Our powerful business intelligence tools and outstanding customer service deliver real results for our customers.
What was your background before joining ePubDirect.com?
Spent a year in an Irish IT firm after college and then did my year out travelling. Went to Korea, teaching English (of all the things to do) – which was a very strange experience. When I came back I spent 7 years in an Irish trade publishing company, working my way up to Sales & Marketing Manager. During that time I completed my Masters in Marketing, studying 2 years part time, and achieved significant growth in the areas of brand development, business development, strategic planning and online marketing.
Tell me what your average week involves as the Digital Content Marketing Manager?
I am responsible for managing the relationships between eBook retailers and ePubDirect’s client publishers. Spending most of my time on metadata, discoverability and inbound marketing, I collaborate with supply chain partners (mostly publishers and retailers) to maximise commercial opportunities. My focus is working with our client publishers to help them grow their sales and I spend most of my week dealing with people, which I enjoy.
We tend to have regular meetings every week and these are usually front loaded towards the start of the week, so everyone is clear on the immediate priorities. We are smallish team and it’s important everyone is aware of what other departments are working on.
Lately I have been spending a lot of time working with onboarding new sales channels like eChristian, Chegg, Valobox, EBSCO, Zola and eBrary. We have a vast distribution network of over 1,000 retailers and 25,000 libraries and we are constantly looking to expand this to help our publishers grow their sales.
However, we recognise that it’s not just about reach any more, and we understand that what has become crucial for publishers is maximising sales through each channel and providing visibility on eBook performance. This enables them to make business decisions around inventory, pricing, sales channels and ROI – delivering real return for the publisher. So, I spend a lot of time working with publishers on ‘eBook Insights’, our eBook analytics platform, which helps publishers increase their sales.
What do you think stands out about ePubDirect.com compared to any competitors?
Cheaper, Faster, Better. Leveraging the best technology will give publishers significant competitive advantage in the eBook market, which is why publishers choose ePubDirect. Our platform and suite of solutions was built from the ground up to maximise the online opportunities. This is exclusively what we do.
We love books, we are passionate about what we do and we listen closely to the needs of our customers. Unlike our competitors, we work in partnership with our customers, using our expertise and digital savvy to give our customers real return that will ultimately increase their bottom line. Our success is based on our customers’ success!
What is the export strategy for ePubDirect.com – presuming technology makes it simple to work worldwide?
ePubDirect was set up to connect publishers to a global community of readers, driven by our own passion for books and technology. A mission, we decided, that would depend on simplicity to succeed. Our culture is rooted in the belief that technology is an enabler, not an end in itself.
Our business is managing eBook distribution and sales, making it as easy for publishers as possible, enabling the pursuit of global opportunities that would have been unimaginable a decade ago. We were recently awarded a Supply Chain Excellence award for being best in class for business efficiency, customer service, environmental concern and innovation in supply chain management, but all publishers need to know about the sophistication of our systems is that they will take their titles to the world, simply, quickly and cost-effectively.
You’ve partnered with Random House – how did that come about and what does it mean for ePubDirect.com?
Well, the growing challenges around visibility in global digital asset distribution is pushing publishers of all sizes to seek out a partner to enable greater control in this capability and the Random House deal demonstrates the companies shared view of the importance of a fast and flexible digital supply chain, facilitating consistent and up-to-date information. We were absolutely delighted to be selected by The Random House Group for this partnership and it is a real endorsement of our service offering.
Do you still see a future for the good, old fashioned paperbacks?
Absolutely! eBooks are thought to be about 20-30% of the book market at the moment and some can see it climbing towards 50% in some cases, but I believe there will always be a place for the ‘good, old fashioned paperbacks’ as you call them. Some people still really love the look and feel of a book, the smell of it and the way it looks on a bookshelf, so I don’t see it disappearing, but eBooks will become an increasingly significant part of the publishing business as consumers attitudes and behaviours change.
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