Challenges publishers face in generating discovery for their titles helped Open Road Integrated Media attract a growing number of companies to its various services in 2022, Open Road CEO David Steinberger wrote in a letter to company employees this week.

Open Road’s Ignition platform for marketing backlist titles served 93 publishers last year, a 29% increase over 2021. Among the publishers who used Ignition for the first time were HarperCollins and Scholastic. The addition of new publishers resulted in record sales for the Ignition service, Steinberger reported.

The success of Ignition in boosting sales of backlist books, combined with requests from publishers to find a way to lift frontlist sales, led Open Road to launch its Activation service in August. Activation operates along many of the same lines as Ignition, enabling publishers to market their frontlist books to directly to Open Road’s more than 3 million readers.

“Activation broadens the way we work with publishers in three important ways,” Steinberger told employees. “First, we now market frontlist titles in addition to backlist titles. Second, we market titles in all formats, not just e-books. Third, we can serve all publishers, not just those already signed up for our Ignition service.”

Publishers using Activation include Knopf, Simon & Schuster, Flatiron, Sourcebooks, and Blackstone. The demand by publishers for the service prompted Open Road to launch Activation 2.0 earlier this year. The new service allows publishers to conduct multi-title marketing campaigns.

While the publishing industry is facing a challenging economic environment, Steinberger noted that December of 2022 and January of 2023 “rank as the company’s two most successful months as measured by the titles being added to our Ignition service.”