Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Blurb Acquires HP's MagCloud

Blurb and HP announced a licensing agreement today which effectively transfers existing customers of the HP MagCloud product to Blurb.   MagCloud was developed out of HP labs to provide digital on-demand publishing options for magazine publishers - particularly self-publishing magazine publishers.

Blurb will absorb all the operational components of the MagCloud product onto the Blurb publishing platform over the next three months.  Blurb is generally known for its book publishing platform therefore these magazine capabilities should broaden Blurb's appeal to more businesses and individuals which want to create different types of publishing products.  HP have long been interested in developing new applications that leverage their hardware print capabilities and invested in numerous initiatives out of their Labs product center.  Much of that activity developed several years ago around the same time as companies like Blurb were emerging to provide sophisticated printing solutions to consumers.  While HP were always looking for killer applications that encouraged investment and purchase of their equipment they we also active boosters of tools and products like the Blurb products.  As the press release from Blurb notes the two companies have been partners for many years and the absorption of MagCloud could be viewed as a continuation of that partnership.

This deal is also the death knell for HP's investment in the new technology that sought to push the market of their hardware.  Whether their Labs program ever made a significant difference is probably debatable but there were some interesting products that came out of the Labs such as MagCloud, virtual printing apps and technology that could clean-up digital files.

From the press release:
This licensing agreement is a natural one given both brands' focus on enabling creative individuals to produce quality products that reflect the power of their work – both in print and ebook form. Working together is nothing new for Blurb and HP. HP’s MagCloud, invented by HP Labs in 2008, created a network of users publishing magazines on-demand using HP Indigo commercial printing presses. Blurb's global print-on-demand network is also based on HP Indigo printing presses.
“Blurb and HP have a longstanding relationship dating back to the origin of Blurb in 2006, so the foundation exists to make this transition successful,” said Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO, Blurb. “Further to the relationship however, the magazine at this moment in time represents the perfect intersection of technology, culture, and media: Beautifully designed short-form reading, with multiple contributors, in print, and as an ebook. In this context, the magazine as a genre is very strategic for Blurb. Indie magazines are experiencing a bit of a renaissance, and we’re thrilled to welcome MagCloud customers to the Blurb fold.”
“Since the inception of MagCloud as an HP Labs innovation to its current commercial success, we’ve strived to democratize the face of magazine publishing,” said Andrew Bolwell, general manager, HP MagCloud. “As a long-time HP customer and pioneer of the self-publishing industry, Blurb is the right company to take on the MagCloud business at this point in time.”
Existing MagCloud customers will not notice any immediate changes. Current and new publications will still be available to print, sell, and distribute through MagCloud just as they are today. MagCloud customers joining Blurb’s ecosystem will gain many new benefits, including access to:
  • Precision design tools – like the recently released Blurb BookWright™ – to help them design their magazines
  • Offset printing options for greater cost savings
  • Unprecedented global reach across 80+ countries of Blurb’s platform
  • The Blurb Bookstore and third-party marketplaces
Blurb is in the middle of its most exciting year yet. From its recently announced new precision print and ebook tool called BookWright, its seamless integration with Amazon distribution, and new offset, warehousing, and fulfillment services, 2014 promises to be big.

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