New Investor Group Bets On Data Science In Book Publishing–Acquires Open Road Integrated Media
Publishing Veteran David Steinberger, Named Executive Chairman, and Open Road CEO Paul Slavin to Work Together on Leadership Transition
A newly formed investor group announced the acquisition of Open Road Integrated Media, Inc., the publishing industry’s leader in applying proprietary data science technology to the marketing of books. David Steinberger, who was previously CEO of Arcadia Publishing and before that CEO of Perseus Books, and who also serves as Chairman of the National Book Foundation, will serve initially as Open Road’s Executive Chairman, working closely with Chief Executive Officer Paul Slavin. The two will work together to ensure a smooth leadership transition, with Steinberger adding the CEO role on January 1, 2022, and Slavin continuing to work closely with the company in a consulting role going forward.
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Founded by former HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, Open Road utilizes proprietary data science technology to connect readers with books resulting in dramatic increases in sales. Open Road’s technology platform collects and analyzes vast amounts of data and then recommends and executes tens of thousands of individual marketing campaigns each month. The typical sales increase for an individual title marketed by Open Road is more than 100%. The company currently applies this technology to more than 35,000 eBook titles, including titles for which it is the publisher as well as titles it markets as a service for other publishers. The unique capabilities of Open Road’s data science technology platform have enabled the company to grow rapidly, with sales almost doubling over the past three years.
“Data science represents the next frontier in book publishing,” said Steinberger. “The title-by-title impact on sales is unlike anything I’ve encountered in my 25 years in the industry. I’m looking forward to working with Paul and his outstanding team to build on Open Road’s powerful momentum in the marketplace.”
“I came to Open Road with the goal of building upon Jane Friedman’s brilliant idea,” said Slavin. “We built a terrific team and a powerful tech/data driven marketing machine that led to significant growth in revenue and profitability. As David has recognized, it is a platform without peer and the results to match.”
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Among the newly formed investor group’s investors are the media and technology-focused Private Equity firm Abry Partners; MEP Capital, a media and entertainment-focused private equity fund and Open Road publishing partner through its investment in Rosetta Books; the leading independent publisher Grove Atlantic, which is also an Open Road publishing partner; and a number of prominent individual investors from the worlds of publishing and finance.
“We have been working with Open Road for several years now and we have seen the impressive results they deliver for our titles,” said Grove Atlantic President and Publisher Morgan Entrekin. “We’re excited to be part of this venture.”
“The combination of a proven technology and a very large addressable market of authors and publishers who will benefit from that technology makes this an exceptional growth opportunity,” added Steinberger. “We have assembled an outstanding group of investors to enable Open Road to fulfill its potential.”
Open Road is the eBook publisher of more than 10,000 titles, including Slouching Toward Bethlehem by Joan Didion, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, and Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Open Road also markets more than 25,000 eBook titles as a service to its 70 publishing partners, which include such leading publishers as Grove Atlantic, Kensington Publishing, Europa Editions, Abrams, Workman Publishing, and Yale University Press.
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