RR Donnelley is still on track to buy the printing services company Courier later this year, but they won’t be buying Courier’s self-pub unit. PW reports that Courier has agreed to sell FastPencil back to its founder, Steve Wilson.
For those just tuning in, FastPencil sells publishing services ranging from editing to cover design to distribution to publishers and authors, and it also offers publishing packages. Corier had acquired FastPencil for $5 million in April 2013 at a time when (according to my sources) FastPencil was in poor financial health. It then dragged down Courier’s financial report for the fiscal year ending 27 September 2014, ending the year with a $3.5 million loss and forcing Courier to write off $6 million.
And now it looks like RR Donnelley would rather see FastPencil sold than kept. While that could indicate poor financial prospects, it might simply be a sign that RR Donnelly doesn’t want the unit.
Given how few deals have been announced, it is difficult to judge FastPencil’s financial state. We do know that the company built B&N’s Nook Press in early 2013, and that they’ve struck deals with Books-A-Million and On Demand Books to power each company’s self-pub services unit.
FastPencil also partnered with Evernote in July 2014 to enable Evernote users to export a notebook to FastPencil’s platform and turn it into an ebook or paper book. It’s not clear who is paying whom, though, so I would not assume that was a financial plus for FastPencil.
The terms of today’s deal have not been disclosed, but Wilson did tell PW that it “made sense to get the company back”.
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