Big Distribution for Small Publishers
SPU requires that titles considered for inclusion into the program must be available in a print edition as well as in an e-book edition.
This may be considered "old think", but the requirement reflects the current reality in the industry. The market for e-books, while growing very fast, accounts for a very small percentage of book sales overall. Moreover, most important review media, including essential library review media, will not even consider a title that does not exist in a print edition.
After acceptance into the SPU program, publishers that wish to focus on the e-book market may execute a print run as low as 50 copies per title through IPG's low-cost print on demand program.
Electronic Data Feeds
SPU compiles a comprehensive title database that contains specifications, descriptions, author information, reviews, and cover images for every title that it sells.
It then feeds this data to over 90 online booksellers, including Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, who immediately put the information up on their sites.
These Data Feeds require the ONIX data standard a technology that is very demanding and expensive to provide.
IPG has been an active player in the e-book market since 2001, and now has thousands of titles available in the book format.
SPU works with more than a dozen major e-book customers, including those that allow e-books to be sold on the Amazon Kindle, iPad, and Nook e-reader devices.
Print on Demand
IPG has an arrangement with one of the highest quality printers of POD books in America. This allows SPU’s client publishers to buy stock at a very low cost, even in runs of only 10 to 50 copies. For obvious reasons publishers have been reluctant to commit to an offset print run of thousands of copies before a title has had a chance to prove itself in the marketplace. The POD technology completely removes this risk because copies can be printed in response to actual orders.