The Seattle Book Company, a new e-publishing vendor, is offering a Web-based, automated text-conversion service that it claims can quickly convert plain text files into any of seven e-book formats, saving production time and conversion costs. The company was launched last year by Dave Howell, who also founded the e-book retailing sites and Seattle Book Company has acquired the assets and technology of those two retail sites, which will continue as units of Seattle Book Company.

The Seattle Book Company's new goal is to expand into the B2B e-publishing market using the proprietary technologies behind Alexandria Digital Literature ( and, said Ted Treanor, president of SBC. is an e-book retail site that also offers its own book recommendation software (News, Sept. 18, 2000). SBC also offers RosettaMachine, an automated text conversion technology, as part of its ePublishingEngine, a suite of e-publishing services that includes text conversion into multiple e-book formats.

Treanor claims the RosettaMachine technology allows publishers to upload the text file of a book to a logon-protected Web account and watch in real time as the file is converted into an XML document and then into any of the major e-book formats. Treanor also claims RosettaMachine is the only truly automated process, although e-vendors such as Texterity ( also offer automated conversion into multiple e-book formats. Treanor told PW, "There is no need for publishers to do any complicated markup. And we guarantee accurate replications, which saves a publisher time and cost in proofing e-books."

Treanor said SBC is negotiating with several clients, though he declined to name them. He also said that the firm is negotiating with vendors like OverDrive in an effort to reach online retailers. "We're looking for partners for some services like DRM," he said. "We want to facilitate getting content into distribution channels."