Copia first launched in 2010 and geared its core business towards online social communities and selling ebooks. The company currently offers around 9.2 million free and paid books, newspapers, and magazines. Business is good, but Copia is now branching away from selling fiction and non-fiction books and gravitating towards the educational sector.
We spoke with Ben Lowinger, the Executive VP of Copia, today about his company’s shift to educational institutions instead of selling ebooks directly to end users. Copia is currently offering 10,000 digital textbooks from Pearson and other major publishers. There are around 50 universities and 900 colleges in the USA, Brazil, Spain, Australia, and Canada that do business with the company. It has incorporated all of the social discussion engines that its business was built around and now offers a turnkey solution that will allow schools to sell ebooks, audiobooks, and video in a singular platform.
The shift to the educational sphere was a timely one and many schools were petitioning Copia for the tools necessary to sell books to their students. Copia accommodated these learning institutions by offering white-label solutions for K12 and other schools to brand the experience as their own. This gives the schools the power to market everything on their own and is simply powered and custom tailored by Copia. This allows schools to offer content on iOS, Android, Windows, and many other platforms, more or less a hardware agnostic approach. Ben mentioned that “75% of our entire business is now strictly focused on schools”.
There is no shortage of companies that are marketing their digital textbooks towards schools and universities. Chegg, Coursesmart, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and many other players sell e-textbooks directly to students. The major advantage Copia has is the agnostic approach to hardware and giving schools the ability to monetize digital textbook sales. We speak to many schools and many of them don’t do business with Amazon and other exclusive platforms, because they don’t want to lock their students to one exclusive platform. Copia is savvy because schools can brand the entire store experience as their own, and the other competitors don’t offer these options. Most just market to students directly, instead of the schools themselves.
In a very short period of time, Copia’s fortunes have drastically turned around. The company still markets major fiction and non-fiction titles to end users on their website, but its major focus is schools. It will be interesting to see how Copia fairs in a very competitive, yet untapped market. Selling ebooks to end users is rife with only a few major players who cornerstone the entire market. Digital textbooks are the next battleground, and Copia is poised to employ an international strategy and become a major player.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.