SM: Describe the value proposition of Blurb, including differentiation versus the rest of the market.
EG: Blurb is bringing book publishing to the masses by providing an affordable publishing platform that’s accessible to anyone with a broadband connection and modest computing skills. Every family, traveler, photographer, bride, cook, poet, teacher, blogger, and artist has a book inside them waiting to be published, whether to keep, give, or sell at profit.
Increasingly, Blurb is also a popular choice for business and creative professionals who create books to promote their products and services. Photographers, business owners, architects, designers, and marketing professionals have unique requirements for integrating books into their business processes, and Blurb’s print-on-demand model, order management, fulfillment services, online bookstore, and attractive prices are driving significant market adoption in this category.
Blurb differentiates on quality, community and on its end to end fulfillment and distribution. No other company has been able to match quality with price like Blurb has, and nobody else provides all the tools to create, market and sell your book, along with all the back-end fulfillment and distribution services.
SM: Why hasn’t self-publishing taken off? iUniverse has been around for a while. EG: Well, to publish your own book, you have to foot the entire front-end bill of graphic design, editing, book packaging, etc. and some of the back-end, like marketing the book. This means, the author has to be an entrepreneur. If a regular publisher is involved, then that publisher sometimes plays the role of the venture capitalist. But just like VCs, they only want to fund experienced, published, successful authors. It’s a very hard business to break into. iUniverse came with the proposal of self-publishing, but the investment is still required. Plus there are issues like Minimum Print Run for Offset Printing (400-500 copies) which makes it expensive. Print-on-demand, which is primarily what we offer, is more expensive by about 30%, but offers the flexibility and a low-risk entry point. We’re also doing a lot to build a community around Blurb, using the web’s social networking capabilities. Our Blurb client software is an easy way to design and package your book. We also have tools that integrate well with Flickr, iPhoto, Picasa, etc. We make it really easy for photo books.
SM: How big is the market? How do you calculate TAM?
EG: The book market in the United States is about $32BB and rest of the world is an additional $36BB. Print on demand is a large and growing sector of the larger book marketplace. Blurb expects turnover between $5-10MM in 2007, its first full year of product availability.