This business is a highly-respected brand of technical books, audio books and screencasts with an extraordinarily loyal following and sterling reputation. The Company sells book titles direct to the consumer via its website and to the retail channel via its distributors, which includes Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Safari Online, most digital ebook outlets, as well as small specialty and international bookstores.
The company is designed to be cash-flow positive; major expenses are paid out of income, including author royalty, development editor royalty and printing costs. Authors are paid quarterly in arrears. Length of time from sale to payment depends on the sales channel; direct sales are paid at the end of quarter. Channel sales are paid at the end of the quarter when payment is received.
· As of February, 2018, the Company has 141 titles in print.
· Background. After writing two bestselling books with a traditional publisher, the Owner/ Founder and his since-retired partner decided to publish their next books themselves—based on their ideals from their background:
o automate everything, to keep staffing requirements incredibly low
o keep books as plain text in version control, to be future-proof
o keep code separate, so it can be tested when the book gets built for quality
o be transparent with authors and pay them a generous royalty
o no digital rights management (DRM) helps gain customer trust and love
o ebook purchases include multiple formats (PDF, epub, and mobi)
o beta books give you access to content as it is being developed to engage readers
· In 2003, this business was born.
· Process. Authors create their titles using simple Markdown and a proprietary XML markup, unlike the hodge-podge of mixed formats used by competitors. Development Editors and Copy Editors make changes in this same format, even Indexers add the index entries inline in the same document. The result is that the original document created by the author is the same one used to create the final published book in all formats (including paper and electronic formats). Books are stored in a single private version control repository. Authors are given access to their own titles. Because many of the books include programming source code, the Company has automated the process of including code extracts—authors add working code projects into their book repository, and then extract sections from this code into their books. There is no chance for copy-and-paste errors which are common with conventional publishers. Production is highly automated, including most formatting, uploading and crosschecking content.
All stakeholders, employees, editors, contributors and authors, work remotely. The business is a virtual entity and has no "physical" facilities.
Current owners are doing very little to no marketing/sales efforts. The website is not SEO optimized, there is no abandoned cart followup or other common sales devices. The business can and will grow by developing new authors and titles and/or packaging existing content in different forms/media through different/additional distribution channels (video, webinars), etc. Current market focus is the high-end, experienced software developer and their management. Additional and more popular market areas could be considered, e.g., more beginner-focused titles, popular subject areas such as Microsoft technologies, Wordpress/PHP, certification exam study, and other ares that are not currently addressed. The Company has been thus far successful with little marketing and no sales efforts. A Strategic Buyer would be in a position to add this business to its own at little or no incremental cost. The new look-and-feel to the website, deployed in February 2017, allows for a better base from which books are launched. Note that the changes to the website, which helped a dramatic boost due to clearer layout, did not address anything about SEO, customer follow-up or retention, etc. Those are still ripe areas for exploitation.
Industry is competitive, there are several players in this space, this company has an acknowledged reputation for highest-quality content and customer loyalty. Target industry is a dynamic one and is constantly changing and evolving, requiring publisher’s customers to frequently upgrade their skills and industry knowledge.
Partner’s unexpected retirement.
Will train for 4 weeks @ no cost. Knowledge and understanding of Publishing process is helpful. Some technical knowledge would also be helpful.