Round Table Companies, a prose and graphic book packaging firm, has reached an agreement with Hachette Book Group to get access to HBG’s digital content management system in order to develop an app that will feature a variety of RTC content. RTC plans to launch its own iPad app with about 13 titles by the end of the year.

HBG has developed a digital delivery/app platform that it can license out to other publishers. The platform allows content to be managed in real time and offers publishers the ability to connect and sell directly to consumers while providing data feedback, analytics and tracking to publishers. In 2010 Hachette developed and released an iPad app for Yen Press, HBG's graphic novel and manga unit.

HBG v-p of distribution and services Todd McGarity said, “finding a way to create less expensive apps is a challenge for publishers. So leveraging this HBG capability was a natural fit for Round Table.”

Round Table Companies packages a variety of nonfiction and self-help titles for major publishers. In addition RTC has also launched SmarterComics and Round Table Comics, lines of comics adaptations of bestselling self-help titles such as Tom Hopkins’s How to Master the Art of Selling; and the forthcoming Delivering Happiness by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh. RTC also publishes comics adaptations of such nonfiction bestsellers as Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail and Everything’s Okay: My Journey Surviving Childhood Cancer by cancer survivor and motivational speaker Alesia Shute.

In a phone interview, David C. Cohen, v-p and chief strategist for Round Table Companies, said RTC was familiar with HBG’s Yen Press app and already had a relationship with Hachette via RTC graphic adaptations of Hachette titles like The Art of Sellling. Cohen said he knew HBG was looking to monetize the delivery platform they had developed for the Yen Press app. “We needed a standalone app and we knew Hachette had put a lot of time and research into developing the Yen Press app. They were looking to sublicense their technology and we’re a test license. It’s a perfect marriage.”

RTC president Corey Michael Blake told PW that RTC was “in the middle of production,” of an RTC app that will offer both prose and comics for sale. He said the comics will likely be priced around $6.99 (RTC print comics range from $13 to $15). He said the price of prose works will vary. “Our authors are open to experimenting so we’ll likely run the gamut from 99 cents up to $9.99,” Blake said.

“As a boutique publisher who serves both bestselling and first time authors, this app will allow us access to quality, intuitive programming for both our traditional books and graphic novels,” Cohen said.