‘Ebooks Corporation’s Digital Comps system has revolutionised the way we deal with inspection / exam copy requests. We’re now able to reach a much wider audience of academics around the world, at a fraction of the cost of sending hard copies of our books, virtually instantly and without the worries of physical deliveries going astray. The comps interface is intuitive and easy to use – both for the academics making requests and from our administrative point of view – and the staff at EBC are always responsive and a pleasure to work with. Digital Comps are now an integral part of Manson Publishing’s digital strategy.’

In conversation with Matt De Bono, Sales & Marketing Manager of Manson Publishing…

In early 2010, Manson Publishing, publishers of specialised titles for professionals and students in medicine, veterinary medicine and the sciences, moved their print distribution. The switch meant that they needed to start managing their own inspection copies and they decided to establish a digital inspection copy system. Manson also desired to maintain a worldwide target market and faced a number of issues with international distribution of inspection copies.

After assessing the market, Ebook Services’ Digital Comps system offered the cleanest solution. As a small company, one of Manson’s key concerns was finding a cost-effective and time-saving solution. Digital Comps met these objectives in an easy-to-use system, which was also an attraction.

Manson publishes high-level veterinary, science and medical books. Many of these are printed in colour and the costs of sending complimentary copies is subsequently high. The Digital Comps system allows them to save a significant amount by distributing digital copies instead. Whilst many lecturers still request print, numbers are declining since Manson established a digital option. The Digital Comps einspection copy system is now acting as a filter system that allows lecturers to take a quick look then decide if they need a print copy with the high cost of print inspection copy distribution more likely to convert to sales.

Manson placed an einspection copy link on each individual book page of their website so lecturers can easily order a digital inspection copy. The system also allows quick and easy approval of inspection copies. It takes only a couple of minutes each day giving Manson Publishing staff direct access to their customers for follow-up if necessary although the system does most of the work for them.

Manson’s titles were already on the Ebook Library (www.eblib.com) system so there was no work involved in transferring them to the Digital Comps system and Ebook Services took care of everything. Adding the inspection copy link to their website was a simple bit of coding and now the system basically runs itself.

Manson staff are able to access reports from the system and integrate these into their internal reporting procedures.

Customers love the ease and speed of access. The market for take-up of textbooks is changing and lecturers now tend to recommend a number of books to their students rather than choosing an overarching course reader. Lecturers are also starting to teach digitally and will therefore recommend ebooks if they are available.

In the last year, Manson has quadrupled the number of inspection copies distributed. Whilst sales figures have also increased it is difficult to pinpoint the number that can be attributed directly to einspection copies given the breadth of changes within the company over this time and the changing nature of the market. They can say however that ebook sales and sales to libraries are both on the increase.

Interestingly, they have found that the system encourages cross-promotion of similar titles at a much lower cost to the company. Lecturers usually enter the system with a particular title in mind but end up looking at two or three titles because the system easily allows for this. Often this will result in take-up and recommendation of more Manson titles.

At Manson, they believe it’s all about working with the right partners partly due to their small size. The Ebook Services Digital Comps system allows Manson to present themselves on a level playing field with far larger publishers by providing a platform for no up-front costs that is as good, if not better, than the systems the larger publishers have built themselves.