Looking to attract more titles from traditional book publishers and more retail sales from consumers, BookSurge, an online retailer for print-on-demand titles and e-books, has hired a new sales manager and plans to launch a marketing campaign that will appeal to the book trade.
BookSurge has named Diana Hujar, a former sales manager at Penguin Putnam, to be director of publishers' sales. As part of her new position, Hujar will oversee a marketing campaign aimed at general publishers in the U.S., slated to launch this month.
BookSurge works in conjunction with its sister company, GreatUnpublished.com, which allows authors to self-publish their books as POD titles and e-book editions for a fee, and to sell titles through its Web store at www.booksurge.com. BookSurge offers about 4,000 titles as POD editions, which account for almost 95% of its sales, and as PDF e-books.
Mitchell Davis, v-p of marketing, told PW that the company has "been profitable since March. The year had a good beginning, a slow middle, a good ending." He said sales for the last three months of 2001 were "up 100% over sales from the first nine months." The company works primarily to print and ship orders for self-publishers and small publishing firms within 48 hours of online purchase. But now the company hopes to become "more retail driven. We want to be an Amazon.com without the warehouses and grills."
In 2001, the company also launched a companion subsidy publishing site called ImprintBooks (www.imprintbooks.com), which offers services to publishers similar to those of GreatUnpublished, Davis said. "GU is a writers' community," he said, and it offers authors a variety of services, while ImprintBooks offers "stripped down" POD print-and-ship services for publishers or self-publishers.