Blurb’s Vision of Publishing’s Future: Everyone’s a Publisher

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In an age when anyone can publish ebooks, a growing number will — especially businesses.

This is the point of view of self-publishing platform Blurb founder and CEO Eileen Gittins. Some 37% of the company’s revenue already comes from businesses. They use Blurb, which is best known as technology for creating and distributing image-heavy books and ebooks, to create content to use as marketing collateral, to commemorate events and to document creative output. The film producer and director Steven Soderbergh will be using the platform to create custom books about his creative projects, for instance.

“We think of this as long tail,” Gittins told Digital Book World.

To help accelerate this business, the San Francisco-based start-up now has an inside sales team to target businesses, especially those that would have once used a custom publisher to create printed and digital materials.

The company has recently launched new technology that allows users to create ebooks and print books from one file and has a host of planned feature and product launches over the next few months.

The new products will be aimed at helping users create magazines, distribute ebooks through Kindle and distribute print books to stores, among other things. The company is also in the process of building a community of freelance book and ebook editors, marketers, cover designers and production professionals for its users to tap when creating commercial content. Stay tuned for announcements, including about additional acquisitions, Gittins hinted.

“We’re really a technology company,” said Gittins of the pace of development. Nearly half of the company’s 115 employees are in product development.

Blurb now has 2.5 million authors who have created about 10 million books. On the digital side, the company has racked up nearly 200,000 digital downloads of content from its own store of users’ work.

Blurb was founded in 2004 and has taken three rounds of venture funding, the last in 2008, totaling $19 million. The company “has been profitable for years,” Gittins said.

Related: Blurb Wants to Bring Illustrated Ebooks up to Speed for Publishers and Consumers 

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