FYI: This is My 2nd Blog

Hi there! You're here at my second blog where I do interviews and book reviews.

In case you're looking for my 1st blog, where I share my IWSG posts and other musings, just go to "The Musings of a Hopeful & Pecunious Wordsmith, SittieCates".

Friday, December 6, 2013

SittieCates Interviews eBook Company and eBookstore Flipside/Flipreads


SittieCates: Hello! Thank you Flipside/Flipreads team for taking the time to do this interview with me. For my first question... It would be interesting to know what the story of your company is. Could you kindly give a short background of Flipreads and Flipside and how they are interrelated.
Flipside: Flipreads is a Philippines-based retail store launched last November 11, 2011. The sister company, Flipside Digital Content Company Inc., converts ebooks for international clients and they wanted to grow and give back to the local community. So they established Flipside Publishing, an everything-ebook company—publishing, conversion, distribution to the major ebookstores, etc. In 2011, Flipside Publishing launched Flipreads, a homegrown (Philippine) ebookstore which provides a way for authors in Asia to distribute their ebooks.

SittieCates: What's the mission or vision of both?
Flipside: We're not really big on mission/vision statements, but if pressed, we'd say our mission is to provide the best ebook services in the country and the region. That's everything to do with ebooks: from making to producing, to selling ebooks.

SittieCates: How many people are working for these online companies? Could you give two to three statements describing them so the readers of the blog would learn more about them?
Flipside: Flipside Publishing is sort of a small start-up company. We're currently fifteen employees, and these are our key people:

Honey is our VP & General Manager. She's the head honcho and makes sure we stay in business. :)

Katz is our Publishing Manager and is in charge of all the aspects of publishing. She's a hounding editor and bravely delves into our slush pile.

Charles is the retail head of Flipreads and is usually involved in all-things Flipreads, including answering tech support questions or uploading books to the website.

Len is our head of production and performs the nitty gritty of making sure our ebooks meet the specifications of the various retailers.

Lester and Trizha are our graphic artists who designs our book covers and collaterals.

Luz, Thine, and Raymond are our Business Development team who looks for clients and addresses their concerns. 

SittieCates: How do you guys work together? Any difficulties? Challenges? Wacky moments? Kindly share.


Flipside: For the most part, we all work in the same room, within shouting distance of each other. So if we need anything, we just approach each other.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is the fact that we're a small team and there's a lot of work to do. Not to mention a lot of data to handle.

Katz compiles our Friday Reads photos so lots of wacky moments there.

SittieCates: It's nice to know you guys work hard and also know how to have fun. Have you or any of your staff published your own works? Where/what publication? In print/online? And may I ask what are the titles/genres/audience?
Flipside: Honey wrote and edited a few textbooks and learning modules. Most recently, she contributed to a nonfiction anthology entitled Motherhood Statements.

Our graphic artist Trizha has her comics and while one of them is available at Flipreads, the rest are in print: Confused, Impulse Overdrive.

Katz co-wrote a textbook, but it isn't out yet. She’s written for newspapers and magazines, but she mostly writes scripts for a children’s TV show.

Charles is the blogger behind Bibliophile Stalker, a World Fantasy Award nominated blog. He's edited a few anthologies, such as Lauriat, which focuses on Filipino-Chinese speculative fiction. He's also currently co-editing Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 9.


SittieCates: You really have a talented staff. Thank you for sharing some information about them with us.
  
Now, since my blog is about stories, what's the most important story that your firm chose to embrace that you feel continues to contribute to your firm's goals or how your staff works together? You may choose to cite a personal story or one that you or any of the staff has published or read.
(Honey) Flipside: There was an incident where someone broke into our office and stole some devices. Naturally, we were crushed. As general manager, I had to tell our president and CEO, Anthony, about the theft. At that time, he was still at home. I called him up, told him straight, and he said OK. He gave a few practical suggestions, such as reporting it and getting statements.

Then, he showed up later that morning, in a polo shirt and shorts. As kind of a start-up, we don't really have a dress code, but Anthony rarely comes in shorts. That day, he did. And then we went to business with the investigation in a very calm and measured manner.

Later that day, Anthony commented on his outfit. Very casually, he said that when I told him about the theft, he started stressing out. And then said that he reminded himself that Flipside is a laid-back company. Not that we don't take things seriously, but we try not to stress ourselves out unnecessarily. We do things the right way and we do it calmly. And so, he said he wore shorts to remind himself of that.

We improved our processes and security so that instances like that never happen again. But I thought that was a pretty good statement of how we as a company should handle ourselves.

SittieCates: I'd have to agree: that's a very good statement indeed that your company embraces. It's a good thing that dismal situation ended well, with no one badly hurt.

Let's move on to the online publishing industry at large. Since there are a number of eBook retailers, indie publishers and virtual publishing firms for authors, what do you think makes your company stand out with all the (possible) competition online?


Flipside: When it comes to Flipside, our services are world-class, especially the conversion aspect as it's one of our core competencies.


With regards to Flipreads, one of the things going for us is our catalog. It's comprised of mostly Filipino and Southeast Asian titles, some of which cannot be found in other websites. Another strength is our flexibility, that we're device-agnostic. This means that Flipreads ebooks can be read in any or most reading devices: iOS, Android, even desktops and laptops. We also provide different payment gateways for Filipino buyers. Most ebookstores will require you to pay through credit cards alone. Not a lot of Filipino consumers have credit cards. So, we also have other payment methods for different consumers, such as paying via 7-Eleven, via GCash or Smart Money, or via over-the-counter payments.

SittieCates: As a start-up company, how do you face the challenges that come your way?

Flipside: We're always looking for ways to improve or find solutions, so we acknowledge challenges as part of growing pains and as an opportunity for growth. Thus, we analyze these challenges and determine how we're going to approach or address them. And then we implement our plan. But, as Honey recounted, while we're a business, we also remember that books and publishing are our passion. So, regardless of the challenges, we always make it a point that we should have fun as well.

SittieCates: If someone would like to tap into this industry, and build their own virtual company, what would you advise him/her to do?

Flipside: One advice we'd like to give is to study the market and the industry and study it very, very well. Second, though there are many possibilities, you have to temper everything with a realization of your resources and capabilities. For example, we're not an especially large company so we started small and prioritized our activities and expenses. So, while some of our regional counterparts have shut down their ebookstores, we still continue to this day.

Finally, we recommend that you always deliver what you say you will deliver. Trust is an important element in any transaction, so be someone that people can trust.

SittieCates: That's great advice. Thank you for sharing that. 

For my next question, let's talk about how authors can connect with you. I'd appreciate it if you could share some information or a particular message about your business that you'd like to impart to those who are interested in working with you (with regards to publishing their own ebooks, conversion, etc.). As an online business firm, as a team, what message would you like to share to them?

Flipside:
We're here to empower publishers, authors and readers. We're enthusiastic when it comes to supporting the industry and people are free to cherry pick or avail all of our services, depending on their specific needs.

SittieCates: So, how can readers or interested authors find you?

Flipside: Flipside's website is at http://www.flipside.ph while Flipreads can be found at http://www.flipreads.com. Our Facebook is at https://www.facebook.com/FlipsidePublishing and https://www.facebook.com/Flipreads, while our Twitter Page is at http://www.twitter.com/flipreads and http://www.twitter.com/flipsidepub

SittieCates:
I appreciate the chance to reach out and get to know more of your team. Thank you so much, Flipside/Flipreads!

Flipside: Thanks and it was a pleasure talking to you.

SittieCates: You're welcome. All the best! 

Dear readers and followers of my blog, there you have it! The Flipside and Flipreads team. Feel free to get to know more about them at their websites, twitter or facebook accounts. I'll see you next post! :-)

(Photo Credit: All photos for this post courtesy of the Flipside/Flipreads Team)

2 comments:

  1. Excellent, informative, and personable interview, Sittie! It makes me wish I could publish in Asia!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sue! I hope you could, too. :-)

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