Free technology boost for small publishers

A tech start-up from two publishing veterans is offering small publishers an easy way to handle their data for free, thanks to support from Arts Council England., set up by the co-founders of independent publisher Snowbooks, has received £30,000 from ACE to help publishers access its service, which provides an online tool to manage bibliographic data, rights and royalties, as well as contracts, AIs and a customer-facing interface.

Publishers who turn over less than £150,000 a year, or who publish in areas that are supported by ACE such as poetry or work in translation, can use the service for free in perpetuity. Larger companies will be able to access it commercially under a user licence fee agreement.

Emma Barnes, who set up Snowbooks alongside Rob Jones close to a decade ago, said: "Nearly 10 years working in the trenches of independent publishing has taught us that efficiency is vital to stay in business. We've always enjoyed living at the intersection of business process and technological innovation. We see the publishing role expanding from one of editorial and production competence to one requiring a technical proficiency far in excess of that required even a few years ago. At Snowbooks, we are now programmers as much as publishers, and Bibliocloud is an expression of that. We built the system to make our own business better—but now, thanks to the Arts Council, we can share the benefits it provides with our peers."