Open Road Media has formed a new partnership with Calgary-based Enthrill Distribution for special sales and promotional distribution of its e-books.

Enthrill has developed a cross-platform fulfillment engine, Endpaper, that allows it to provide e-books to readers in a “device-agnostic” format that the company promises “is compatible with all popular devices, including e-readers, tablets, smart phones and computers.” The system was originally developed for use with Enthrill’s own enterprise, which provides gift cards for e-books that can be marketed and sold in retail locations. The cards also require a “device-agnostic” format so that whoever receives the gift card can read the book on any device.

But Open Road saw a whole new opportunity for the technology. “The flexibility of Enthrill’s system allows us to execute e-book sales for promotions or special sales,” said Rachel Chou, CMO of Open Road. “This has been a goal since the inception of Open Road and we are thrilled to have found a platform that executes this brilliantly.”

Enthrill’s president and cofounder Kevin Franco explained that without a solution like Endpaper, publishers wanting to sell 3,000 copies of a particular e-book title to a corporation for its employees, for example, would have to work separately with each e-book retailer —Apple, Amazon, Kobo or Nook. “With our system, they … log in to our system and create the order themselves.... [They can provide] 3,000 device-agnostic [e-books] to any device through one contract with us," he said. "In the case of Open Road, we’re actually putting our engine into the back of their Web site…., our fulfillment engine will power their online fulfillment.” He added that the system will begin operation in May.

“This is a very big deal for Enthrill,” said Franco. "Open Road is in the forefront of digital publishing...and we’re excited ... to have them as our first corporate sales partner."

Enthrill’s gift cards have been available for about eight months in the Canadian market in about 100 grocery stores in western Canada and about 15 independent booksellers. So far, nine publishers, including Open Road and Rosetta Books, are participating. Franco says plans are afoot to expand the program into the U.S. soon.