NetGalley bought by Japanese ebook distributor

NetGalley has been bought by Japanese ebook distribution company Media Do in a takeover deal for NetGalley’s owner Firebrand Technologies, which offers a range of services to the publishing industry.

NetGalley is used widely by traditional publishers and independent authors as the firm aims to help ‘readers of influence discover and recommend new books to their audiences.’ Some of the new wave of digital-first publishers have made NetGalley one of the central planks of their marketing strategy.

Firebrand Technologies was set up by Fran Toolan in 1987 and he will stay on as CEO for at least three years. Apart from NetGalley, the company’s software and services include:

  • Title Management Enterprise Software which tracks titles from pre-acquisition through post- production, marketing and sales.
  • Eloquence on Demand service implements ONIX and controls how data and assets reach the marketplace.
  • Eloquence on Alert is a data-gathering service to collect details about products from major online marketplaces and review sites.
  • FlightDeck is an Epub quality assurance and validation tool.

Daihei Shiohama, CEO of Media Do International says, ‘We are very pleased to bring Firebrand and NetGalley into the Media Do family. We have long respected the work of the Firebrand Group and are very excited about the prospects of working closely with them in the future.’

Firebrand Technologies CEO Fran Toolan says, ‘Media Do has been NetGalley’s partner in Japan since 2016 and we know each other quite well. Firebrand and NetGalley have never been stronger as companies, and I believe that becoming part of the Media Do Group ensures continuity for our customers and opportunities for our team for many years to come.’

Tokyo-based Media Do is one of the biggest ebook distribution companies in the world and is said to have the biggest share of Japan’s $3.7 billion ebook market.

NetGalley was hit by a hacking attack on a database just before Christmas last year. The company added audiobooks to its service in December 2020 and it operates in the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan.


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