September 11 Tragedy
History of BookSurge
The genesis of BookSurge is best described as organic, according to Davis. He, along with three other partners, originally started a company that would operate in the space of publishing. The partners' backgrounds included books, digital printing, mergers and acquisitions, and the Internet. "When we came together, we knew we wanted to start a publishing business using the Internet," recalls Davis. "We didn't believe that 600 years of reading habits would be changed, but knowing about the low distribution charges of e-books we wanted to get in that market." The group began looking for POD and fulfillment vendors who could suit their needs as publishers. This proved to be more difficult in practice than thought. Davis explains, "We knew machines existed and naively assumed that the machines had been put together with services to help companies like ours. But we couldn't find anyone who would print and ship one title at a time without sending it through a wholesale channel."
To account for this gap in the marketplace, the company partnered with Digitz.net. After that, in May 2000, GreatUnpublished.com was launched. "For the first three months, we were printing our own books. Then, we started working with a core group of grass roots e-book publishers who realized that e-books alone wouldn't make a business. We dealt with the challenge of working with people who had no expectations for what the books looked like," recounts Davis. "We helped people become print publishers and we taught ourselves what not to do and what to do better." In August, a separate print and fulfillment business was spun-off to cater to other publishers. Later that year, the group ran into another obstacle: no profitable POD Web channel through which to sell books. To satisfy this need, BookSurge was created to be the front-end for the process and to avoid traditional inventory problems.