Launched in 2006 in Denmark, Issuu is a fast-growing digital publishing platform designed to make content more discoverable and help publishers connect with readers. The company has named Joe Hyrkin as its new CEO and appointed Bradley Horowitz, v-p, product management at Google, to its board of directors.
Hyrkin, previously CEO of Reverb, who has also held senior positions at Yahoo! And Flickr, is joining Issuu during a time of rapid growth. The company has opened a U.S. office in Palo Alto, Ca. and the digital publishing platform has more than 65 million visitors each month, offers 14 million publications from magazine and book publishers as well as individual artists. More than 20,000 documents are uploaded to the site everyday. Issuu has about 50 employees and is growing, Hyrkin said.
“We provide a digital platform to make content discoverable and sharable,” Hyrkin said during a phone interview with PW. While Issuu is dominated by magazine publishers, the service definitely attracts the book publishing community and Hyrkin is looking to encourage more book publishers to use the service. The Penguin Group US, Random House, Peachtree Publishers, HarperCollins U.K., Bloomsbury and powerHouse Books are among several houses that use the platform to market and promote their content. The site is also attractive to publishers of visual books and comics publishers and Issuu clients also include the San Diego Comic-Con, Fantagraphics Books, IDW Publishing, Twomorrows. In addition, Hyrkin noted that individual artists and self-publishers (he cited users of Blurb.com and Lulu.com) make use of Issuu.
Publishers using Issuu can upload content for free and it is displayed in the Issuu reader, which in turn can be embedded in any Web site or blog and is searchable for Issuu content. The company makes money by offering premium customized services for display and for in-depth analytics about who is reading and following the publishers' content. “We offer publishers a customizable reader with real analytics, not a survey but real data about who is reading, how much and what, to help publishers make better business decisions.” Issuu offers some analytics for free but for in-depth data there is a fee.
Issuu is not a sales channel Hyrkin said--there are no direct sales--book publishers use the service for “audiencing,” or “connecting content to the right people.” Users can log into the service, “follow” publishers and read content. Book publishers use the service to post catalogs as well as excerpts from their titles.
Hyrkin acknowledged that Issuu needs to do a better job of marketing its services to the book industry. “I’m excited to join Issuu at this pivotal time and with our new presence in Silicon Valley, we can expand our partnerships with leading brands and publishers,” Hyrkin said, noting also that, “We need more outreach. We can help create discoverability for publishers and their books.”