A month after announcing its partnership with Shanghai-based Tencent Literature, Boston-based distribution and e-book-discovery start-up Trajectory Inc. has opened a suite of additional agreements pertaining to a new relationship with the major Chinese corporation Xiaomi.
The new deals include Macmillan, MIT Press, and UK wholesale distributor Gardners Books.
Trajectory is positioning itself as a bridge to such major Chinese retailers as Tencent and Xiaomi, for publishers in the West to use in getting their books into China's marketplace. A key to Trajectory's operation in this role is its Natural Language Processing Engine to generate keywords in Chinese and in other languages so that readers can locate books of interest.
For example, an agreement with Macmillan will see its entire catalogue processed by Trajectory and introduced to the Chinese market via the Beijing-based Xiaomi.
"The process," said Trajectory c.e.o. James Bryant, "is that we'll receive Macmillan's catalogue, and we'll process it through the NLP algorithmic analysis to generate enhanced metadata." The metadata will include translated keywords in English, Chinese and, in some cases, additional languages. "And then we'll deliver the metadata and content to the distribution partners" that Macmillan selects, "starting with Xiaomi."
A similar process will pertain to Trajectory's new contract with MIT Press. In that case, Bryant said, there are more international markets involved than China, but the agreement is starting with a focus on the Chinese market.
"The conversation with Gardners is really unique," Bryant said, "because it potentially adds hundreds of thousands of titles to the mix." In effect, Trajectory becomes a distributor-to-the-distributor for Chinese access. "We approached them...and suggested that they consider the new markets we're serving. They were quite intrigued with China and with the NLPE. We have technology to offer their publishers something they don't have right now, and we have distribution that can help complete the puzzle" of accessing English-language and other readers in China.
In a prepared statement, Gardners commercial director Bob Jackson is quoted saying, "Gardners is pleased to be supporting Trajectory in developing this challenging new market channel."
Bryant will be in London during part of this week for meetings around the London Book Fair. Trajectory's chief content officer Scott Beatty will also be in town. Trajectory can be found at the trade show at stand 6B105, and Beatty will speak on Friday to independent authors about discoverability and NLP technology during the IndieReCon.org day of "Live at Foyles" events prepared by the Alliance of Independent Authors.
Xiaomi (pronounced Jow-MEE) is described by Trajectory c.e.o. James Bryant as the third-largest smartphone vendor in the world. its Internet services elements attract, he said, more than 150 million consumers in its active-user base.
Trajectory, Bryant said, "approached Xiaomi about opening up a foreign-language store almost a year ago. The opportunity now has been amplified by their explosive growth in their base of devices and readers."
According to press-statement material provided by Trajectory to The Bookseller, Xiaomi sold 61 million smartphones in 2014, more than trebling the number it had sold in 2013. The Beijing-based corporation expects the company to sell between 80 million and 100 million smartphones in 2015.