The Firebrand Group (firebrandtech.com), the book industry’s leading technology company for cutting edge software and services that enable publisher success, announced today that Angela Bole, current CEO at the Independent Book Publishers Association (ibpa-online.org), will succeed Firebrand CEO Fran Toolan on February 1, 2023. Toolan, who founded Firebrand as Quality Solutions, Inc. in 1987, passes the reins to Bole after 35 years as the company’s sole CEO. He will remain on the Firebrand Group Board of Directors post transition.
Upon launching Firebrand Technologies, Toolan understood that the publishing industry was a unique and creative business that needed efficient tools and workflow processes to thrive and be profitable. “These tools must accentuate the creativity in publishing,” he said at the time, “not hinder it.”
Today, the Firebrand Group includes Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, and Supadu. Firebrand Technologies Title Management Enterprise Software and Eloquence on Demand service headline a group of technologies that help publishers track and manage titles from pre-acquisition through their long tail of sales. NetGalley helps provide excitement about titles by connecting eBook and audio content with reviewers. And the newest addition to the Firebrand family of services, Supadu, is the leading provider of publisher e-commerce solutions in the US and UK.
In February 2021, Firebrand was acquired by Media Do International (MD-i), the US-based subsidiary of Japan’s Media Do Co., Ltd, one of the largest ebook distribution companies in the world retaining the largest share of Japan’s $4.5 billion eBook market.
“With the support of MD-i, the Firebrand Group is growing and innovating at an unparalleled rate of speed,” said Toolan. “The opportunities in front of us are very exciting, and I’m equally excited that Angela will be here to guide us going forward.”
Said Daihei Shiohama, CEO of MD-i: “Both here and in Japan, we are so excited to have Angela succeed Fran. We are determined to provide utmost support to Firebrand Group with Angela as new CEO. With the annual growth rate of close to 20% in Japan’s digital publishing market where NFT, XR, and other diversified elements stimulate the publishing industry, we are convinced that Angela will lead the group to uplift the global publishing industry’s expansion.”
Bole, a 2019 Publishers Weekly notable person of the year, began her career at an independent bookstore in Jackson, WY before moving to NYC in 2005 to pursue a Masters in book publishing from New York University. While in NYC, she held various positions with the Book Industry Study Group (BISG)–including a stint as interim executive director–where she spearheaded research into consumer attitudes toward ebook reading, oversaw initiatives supporting the industry’s transition to ISBN-13, and developed best practices and other documentation for use of the ONIX and EPUB standards. Bole served as treasurer of the International Digital Publishers Forum (IDPF) from 2011 to 2014, before moving to Manhattan Beach, CA to become ED and later CEO of IBPA, where she has stabilized and grown operations for the past nine years.
“During her years leading IBPA, Angela has transformed the organization into the leading association for advocating and supporting the growing community of independent publishers,” said current IBPA Board Chair Karla Olson (Director, Patagonia Books). “During the last two challenging years in particular, Angela made certain IBPA provided innovative and essential member support and increased efforts to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion within all aspects of the association. IBPA will be forever grateful to Angela for her leadership, her vision, and her passion for publishing.”
Bole officially assumes the position of Firebrand Group CEO on February 1, 2023. When asked what she hopes to achieve, she said, “Firebrand has been powering the publishing industry for over 30 years through quality software solutions and a dedicated and committed staff. Given all we’ve learned over the past few years, I hope to build upon what’s already working to enable even more efficiencies for the companies Firebrand serves. I know this will be a team effort; I couldn’t be more excited to join and lead the team.”
About the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) – Founded in 1983 to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 4,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industry. For more information, visit ibpa-online.org.
About the Firebrand Group – The Firebrand Group, consisting of Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, and Supadu, provides leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. The Firebrand Group is owned by Media Do International (MD-i), the US-based subsidiary of Japan’s Media Do Co., Ltd, one of the largest ebook distribution companies in the world retaining the largest share of Japan’s ebook market. For more information, visit firebrandtech.com. For more information on Media Do’s services and corporate divisions, visit mediado.jp/english.