Storytel is best known globally for its digital books streaming service, now covering eighteen markets, and with big plans for further expansion in the next decade.
But CEO Jonas Tellander is a big fan of the hybrid print and digital model, as his press release reporting the acquisition of Gummerus for an undisclosed sum makes clear.
The acquisition of Gummerus Kustannus shows Storytel’s ambition to invest in content and in the digitalization of the Finnish book market. I feel both excited and confident as I welcome Gummerus Kustannus to the Storytel family and our publishing business area with renowned and respected Nordic brands like Norstedts, Massolit, StorySide, Printz Publishing, People’s Press, Rabén & Sjögren, B.Wahlströms and Norstedts Kartor. Gummerus Kustannus has been an impressive company since the day of its inception, and we see good things to come as we join forces and begin cooperating with these proficient and skilled publishers who share our passion for great authorships and stories in all formats, and bringing them to the people to be shared and enjoyed every day in the most comfortable and accessible way possible.
Gummerus? That will be Finland’s third-largest book publishing house, Gummerus Kustannus Oy, home of bestselling authors like Minna Rytisalo, Pauliina Rauhala, Matti Rönkä, Sisko Savonlahti, Camilla Grebe and Jojo Moyes, and with a turnover of 7.6 million euros ($8.4 million)
Describing Helsinki-based Gummerus Kustannus as one of the oldest and most respected publishing houses in Finland (founded 1872) producing with around 200 domestic and translated titles each year, the Storytel press release says the acquisition,
substantially strengthens (Storytel’s) position both as a distributor and a publisher on the Finnish book and streaming market.
Gummerus Kustannus Managing Director Anna Baijars will continue her role at the publishing house. Baljars explained,
After nearly 150 years as an independent, family-owned publishing house, we now look forward to becoming part of one of the most dynamic forces in the modern publishing industry. The most important thing is that this will reinforce our mission of releasing literary gems and developing fantastic authorships within a broad range of popular genres. Storytel is driving both growth on the Nordic book market and new and strong curiosity and interest in authorships and stories among new as well as already established consumer groups. It feels exciting to be backed up by a strong publisher with so much intellectual property and digital muscle and so many savvy new colleagues, not least at Storytel-owned Norstedts, Sweden’s oldest and second biggest publisher.
But let me end this post with a reminder of Jonas Tellander’s words, above, that define Storytel’s success:
…Great authorships and stories in all formats, and bringing them to the people to be shared and enjoyed every day in the most comfortable and accessible way possible.
This is what not just defines Storytel but also defines why many other publishers are struggling – especially in the emerging markets.
Print and digital should never be seen as an either/or us-and-them option, but rather an opportunity to give consumers affordable choices that the traditional print-only model by definition cannot offer.
Consumer choice is what defines the success of Storytel.