A year and a half ago, Ebooks Services, a major provider of digital sales and marketing services for book publishers, took their existing voucher code service and gave it a face-lift. Today, that same service, known as Digital Comps, has transformed into a seamlessly integrated portal for end users to place requests and redeem promotional vouchers.
“The whole system is publisher branded,” said Suzanne Cole, director of Client & Ebook Services. “If you have a Digital Comps account it isn’t clear to end users to see where the publisher’s own website ends and the Digital Comps system begins.”
Cole stated that “thirty to forty” publishers are actively using the system, and that new trial requests are received every day. Their clients include Cambridge University Press, Palgrave Macmillan and SAGE, and on July 29, they added Princeton University Press to their growing list of clients. To mark the agreement, Princeton’s title Theories of International Politics and Zombies by Daniel Drezner was offered on Digital Comps for a limited time.
Priscilla Treadwell, Princeton University Press’ digital sales director, said: “We’ve been looking for a user-friendly, elegant solution for providing electronic comp copies to professors and book reviewers, and are delighted to have found it in this excellent service from Ebooks Corporation.”
Ebook Services has worked to get Digital Comps into the e-galley arena, so far effectively providing different benefits from bigger distributors like NetGalley, which has agreements with Penguin Group (USA), HarperCollins and Hachette. Namely, Digital Comps is going after academic publishers. “We developed [Digital Comps] primarily to meet the needs of academic publishers with a particular eye on the inspection copy/desk copy/exam copy space,” said Cole. “We provide each publisher with two online forms where reviewers and academics can search for and request access to titles and provide the publisher with the information they need to help assess the validity of their request.” For academics, Digital Comps also provides “feedback forms which are important so that academic publishers know whether or not lecturers will adopt their titles.”
Digital Comps’ price structure is also appealing to publishers: there are no set up or maintenance fees, and publishers are only charged for what they use. Online reader access (timed) costs $2, and online reader + download (perpetual) costs $3.
In the future, Cole sees potential for expanding further into trade publishing, adding to their academic publishing base. “We are hearing really enthusiastic feedback from trade publishers who want to use Digital Comps for reviews and aren’t seeing the same level of functionality in services offered by our peers.”