What’s in a name? During the London Book Fair CEO and Founder of Vearsa Gareth Cuddy sat down with Felicity Wood from The Bookseller to discuss our rebrand and expanded line of products.
Felicity Wood: Last week you rebranded and relaunched ePubDirect as Vearsa. Why was it time for the change?
Gareth Cuddy: We had been ePubDirect for the last four or five years. When we started the company it was very much just about distributing files, but now we do a lot more. If you look at the company three years ago it was purely an e-book distribution company, now it’s also focused on data and it does a lot around e-book sales analytics and sales tracking. We wanted to rebrand and refocus to highlight that.
FW: Why Vearsa?
GC: Vearsa means “verse” in Gaelic and refers to Ireland’s long history of storytelling. We feel honoured to continue this tradition by helping publishers get their stories out to the world. Our business is no longer about formats or files, it’s about working together to grasp the enormous opportunities that exist during this exciting time in publishing.
FW: So the rebrand was in part a reaction to the changes that have taken place within the publishing industry in recent years?
GC: The industry in general is becoming less insular in a sense and learning that there are other factors at play. Book publishing is now competing with a number of other industries— be it gaming or videos—and publishers have to work out how to keep the edge in terms of what they’re doing with their business. Really the only way to do that at the moment is through data, and so data is at the crux of everything we’re doing right now. A change in name gives us the scope to build a proper brand around that. We currently have around 350 publisher partners, including Penguin Random House (PRH) and Macmillan, as well as Egmont, Profile, Usborne and Osprey—those sorts of publisher are our sweet spot, not quite the top five but just beneath that, because they are often more open to experimentation.Typically, publishers we deal with grow their sales by around 12% per month. I know there has been a lot of talk in the press about e-book sales plateauing, but we don’t see that. We are continually increasing the reach of our publishers with new business models and new territories, and we are also giving them the tools to make informed decisions around areas such as pricing.
FW: You have launched a new product today: what can you tell us about Vearsa Tracker?
GC: Vearsa Tracker is really important for us because over the past couple of years publishers have become increasingly frustrated by the lack of information they get from retailers—and I don’t just mean sales reports, I mean simple things like the availability of their titles. When we were running different campaigns and working closely with different publishers, we noticed that a lot of their titles wouldn’t be on sale at any one time. That’s a real concern for publishers, because obviously if a title is not available, it can’t be sold. Vearsa Tracker uses propriety technology to collect 3.5 million title records every day from all of the major retailers— both print and digital—across four countries, which tells us if titles are available as they should be and if there are any issues around content— where it is in the Kindle Ranking or what its review status is, for example. We found that publishers, on average, only had 89%–90% of their titles on sale, which meant there was 10% or 11% [of their lists] missing at any one time, for a wide variety of reasons. We are able to get that information from retailers. Vearsa Tracker also gives a competitive aspect and market insight because you can start to understand where your titles fit into the bestseller rankings and how your titles compare price-wise to others that are selling well.
FW: Are you aiming to work with publishers who do not have their own analytics teams?
GC: We want to work with everyone. The big five publishers have their own analytics teams whereas smaller publishers may not, but even for a company like PRH, the information it gets from retailers is very limited. From a sales perspective, the retailer gives you very little information about the end user, so there is very little you can do with that data whether you have an in-house team or not.
Source: http://www.thebookseller.com/digital-archives - London Book Fair, Day 3. 2015
You'll hear from us!