Vista to Spin Off PubEasy
Calvin Reid -- 9/11/00

Looking to focus its efforts on developing, a Web-based marketplace for the publishing industry, Vista, a U.K.- based firm specializing in software and technology for publishing, is spinning off as a separate company. To help fund the company, has received an early investment from 3I, a venture capital firm, and formed an investment relationship with Monitor Marketplace, a strategy consulting firm.

Peter Clifton, CEO of, told PW Vista is relaunching as a separate firm because "our parent company is effectively a technology firm; we're a different business model. We need to focus on our own model in order to raise new resources and grow the company." was launched in the U.K. in 1998 as a division of Vista, and now has about 20 employees in offices in White Plains, N.Y., and in London. The company offers a secure, Web-based B2B marketplace that connects booksellers to publishers and distributors. "We're focused on self-service," said Clifton. Using technology developed by Vista that can connect to any back-office system used by suppliers, allows booksellers access to accurate, real-time information direct from suppliers. Booksellers can place orders, check pricing and title availability, and track their orders 24 hours a day through a password-protected logon. "We can plug into any back-office system," said Clifton, "SAP, IBM, whatever. We're not dependent on any system--it's one of our strengths." vendors, such as National Book Network, operate servers that are linked via the Web. is also launching PubEasy Exchange at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The new service is a centralized site that will allow PubEasy to manage sites for small publishers who are unable or unwilling to maintain a PubEasy Web site. Clifton also noted that is introducing its Transact technology this month. This new software will allow booksellers to "batch" high volumes of inquiries and orders instead of entering each item separately. PubEasy vendors include Random House, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Harper- Collins in the U.S. and U.K. and many other international publishers and distributors.

Clifton told PW that PubEasy currently attracts about 4,000 users associated with 2,900 registered booksellers from around the world. Clifton said, "The U.S. is the fastest growing, but growth is international." He said the service compares to Ingram's I-Page, "but we work with multiple suppliers--we're supplier neutral. All you need is one password for all of them, and booksellers love it."