Accenture to create global e-book fulfilment platform for HarperCollins

By Thomas Grayson

In the end of October, Accenture announced that working in partnership with other vendors, it has built and will operate an end-to-end e-commerce and direct to consumer distribution solution for HarperCollins Publishers e-books globally. The project will commence with the launch of HarperCollins’ www.CSLewis.com and www.Narnia.com today, with Accenture supporting future efforts as they develop.

HarperCollins will sell e-books using innovative technology from Accenture. Accenture’s Digital Content Solution will provide a number of capabilities and tools that will allow HarperCollins and its authors to experiment with direct sales to a global audience of readers.

In the case of C.S. Lewis, HarperCollins will now be able to digitally store and distribute the e-books in its catalogue directly to the consumer. It will also have the tools to analyse all online purchase data, which will lead to expanded decision-making capabilities. This e-commerce approach will be extended in time to other HarperCollins online properties.

Combining Accenture’s suite of digital delivery and analytics capabilities with HarperCollins’ traditional strengths of content acquisition, editing, marketing and distribution, will position HarperCollins as a digital innovator with the tools to evolve its digital strategy. HarperCollins’ increased commitment to the digital value chain gives it a unique edge in attracting writing talent and driving growth in an expanding e-publishing market.

Channels like Amazon are HarperCollins’ core digital outlets and it will continue to grow its fruitful relationship with them. The new platform is not competitive with these retailers but does give HarperCollins another touch point with its consumers, in particular allowing it to interact direct with fans by providing a unique and in-depth experience. This direct interaction will help HarperCollins to evolve in the digital era by becoming more responsive to consumer demands and smarter about the way it manages its relationship with readers and authors.

The publishing industry is undergoing a technological transformation unparalleled in our 200 year history,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer, HarperCollins. “Launching a platform that allows HarperCollins to establish a direct to consumer marketing and sales proposition to expand some of its strongest brands to new audiences means we honour both our past and our present.”

Publishers have seen massive growth of digital sales through large retailers which have helped sell their content at great scale. The digital shift presents an opportunity for publishers to learn from consumer data gathered from the sale of their content – and act on this data. Publishers are exploring the option of selling content to consumers directly because collected data can be used to attract the best talent, shape content, help market that content more effectively and bring consumer digital interaction to the forefront of publishers’ operations.

Harper Collins e-books are delivered as DRM-protected EPUB files. They can be read within the ‘HarperCollins Reader’ app which consumers can download from Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The books can be read on any iOS or Android device and most e-ink devices. Books can also be read on the Kindle Fire, with some additional steps required to load the HarperCollins application onto these devices. Furthermore, readers can access books from their PC using Adobe Digital Editions.

About the author and Accenture

Thomas Grayson is managing director at Accenture Digital Services.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 275,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$28.6 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2013. Its home page is http://www.accenture.com.

About Accenture Digital Services

Accenture Digital Services, an Accenture Business Service, is designed to deliver value from digital content in a complex environment. It engages digital consumers with unique, personalized interactive experiences on a massive scale. It supports a mix of business models to drive new revenue streams and find new ways to monetize content. It distributes digital content in any format, across all platforms, to any device. And it optimizes operating models, delivering next-generation solutions on a pay-as-you-grow basis – all to help clients thrive in a changing digital ecosystem. Its home page is http://www.accenture.com/digital-services.

About HarperCollins Publishers

HarperCollins Publishers, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corp(NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NNC, NNCLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India. HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children’s books, cookbooks, narrative nonfiction, mystery, romance, reference, pop culture, design, health, wellness, and religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history, HarperCollins has published some of the world’s foremost authors, including winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, and the Caldecott Medal. HarperCollins is consistently at the forefront of innovation, using digital technology to create unique reading experiences and expand the reach of its authors. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers online at: http://www.harpercollins.com .

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