Q&A: Eileen Gittins, founder and chief executive, Blurb

/h/q/n/Eileen160.jpg

Marketing Week (MW): How did the Blurb selling platform – where authors can list their self-published books for sale – start?

Eileen Gittins (EG): Our original store was a facility where you would place an order and then receive the URL. Then professionals began making their way to us and their work was commercial quality, so that’s when we knew we needed to develop a seller programme.

MW: How can you make such small print runs economical?

EG: The process becomes very manual. We get sent a file that gets sent to the printer, but the printer is used to doing large runs so someone has to set it up for the small run with specific binding and paper.

We didn’t just have to create the book software, we needed to find and work with printers that could do this. We had a print expert on board to pitch the concept to printers and convince them it was the future, as well as to ensure consistency across different international printers. It takes a lot of relationship building and coordination but this model works well for us. We are looking to grow globally so we are always investigating new print partnerships.

MW: Can the unedited quality of written work published on Blurb stand up to the traditional market?

EG: There is a natural filter – someone will read a book and give it five stars or ’like’ it on Facebook and soon it will get some visibility for being good. We have people who print their first book, give it to people to read and then adjust future copies based on the feedback received. The editing function can still happen, but what’s changed is that it now happens through your network, not a big publishing house.

MW: What reaction have you had from the traditional publishing world?

EG: The publishing industry has become receptive to partnering with people like us. They send us leads to authors and use us as a testing ground. There are books that have been published on Blurb that traditional publishers have picked up. If we can be seen as a place for emerging talent, more people will want to put their work on our site in the hope of being discovered, which is a good thing for us.

MW: Could this lead to Blurb being bought out by a big publisher?

EG: We’ve been approached for purchase before but it wasn’t the right time or company. We’re open to an exit, either through acquisition or share flotation. We’ll pick the best option in the future.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here