Donaldson spreading the word in digital publishing

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Devlin Donaldson moved to Colorado Springs in 1981 to work at Compassion International, where he spent 18 years. Since 2001, he has been president of The Elevation Group, a consulting firm that advises Christian nonprofits. A published author, Donaldson’s newest venture is NOVO Ink, a digital publisher of religious materials.

Tell us about the company.

NOVO Ink is a digital distributor and publisher for the faith community. We have an exclusive arrangement with Xenio, which is the largest distributor of digital magazines in the world, with over 3,000 titles. We’ve created a site where members of the Christian community can go and not be offended by titles they might find objectionable.

When did you start?

We’d been kicking the concept around for a couple of years, but we just formally launched in June. Right now, we employ four people, and I can see us growing gradually during the next few years.

Where do you get your content?

We’ve gone to — and we’re still going to — the major Christian publishers. They’re all looking for a digital solution. They’re looking at Amazon, at Google, at ITunes — there are a plethora of groups out there trying to get into digital distribution. But in the faith community, there’s no one who has had the capital to create the relationship we have with Xenio. We can offer these publishers access to both a (secular) site and a faith community site.

Our (business plan) is built on three pillars: publishers, authors and nonprofit ministries. We already have 4,000 titles under contract, and we’re working with authors whose works may be out of print as well, giving them an avenue for more sales. But you need the new titles to drive sales. It’s always been difficult to support yourself as an author, and that’s particularly true today.

Does Colorado Springs offer unique advantages to your business?

Yes. I spent 10 of my years at Compassion working with authors, composers and musicians, and making the contacts that this business requires. You have three major publishers right here in town, as well as many authors. Nashville would have been the only other city that might have worked, but I like Colorado Springs a lot more.

Who are your competitors?

Amazon, Google, IBooks are definitely competitors, but they carry lots of other content, and Christians don’t necessarily want their kids going there. But no one’s sure how this will turn out — it’s sort of the Wild West out there. Will it beAmazon’s model, with content will be linked to specific devices? I don’t think so-they’re already moving away from that model, and there are 31 new devices that I know of coming in the next few months. Our goal is for NOVO to be device-neutral. We want our customers to read what they want, when they want, and how they want it.

And I think that the interactive technology that we offer, the ease of navigation, high definition color, clipping capability, embedded video, animation, zoom and search capabilities, page turning, thumbnail views, the ability to adjust font size — nobody else can offer that technology to the faith-based community.

Audio excerpt of the interview with Devlin Donladson.