Our story so far

Advanced functionality borne from the need of our own publishing requirements

“Consonance was born from our need to work efficiently as a single team, to communicate effortlessly with trade partners, and produce beautiful marketing materials.”

When we started, in 2011, Consonance (named Bibliocloud, back then) was an in-house project by Snowbooks, our sister publishing company, designed to bring all our knowledge about our books together in one place.

Since then, the system has evolved through working closely with our ever-growing numbers of publisher clients to be mature, enterprise-grade book trade software — for publishers, by publishers. Our experience now spans all types of publishing lists, working in all manner of ways with the supply chain: academic, children’s, international, professional and scholarly, and the system is designed to share that knowledge with all our clients.

Along the way, we won:

  • IPG Services to Independent Publishers award in 2017
  • a Futurebook Innovation award in 2012
  • a Digital Leaders commendation in 2016
  • Inclusion on the Futurebook 40 list of innovators 2018
  • Shortlisting in The Pitch entrepreneur competition

We are a tight-knit, expert, high-performing team of hands-on programmers. Emma Barnes (CEO), Rob Jones (Chairman) and Sara O'Connor (full stack web developer) have extensive publishing backgrounds: Emma and Rob founded and run 15-year-old Snowbooks, and Sara worked for big publishers on both sides of the Atlantic over 13 years, most recently as Editorial Director at Bonnier’s Hot Key Books. Both Emma and Sara retrained to be programmers, and combine highly technical and strategic roles.

Database expert David Aldridge (technical product director) and senior programmer Andy Pearson both have deep technical experience. David has delivered technical solutions in publishing, utilities, defence, marketing, logistics, media and finance, moving from Oracle data warehousing, Business Objects, and Informatica and SQL-based ETL to data and system architecture and web application development with Ruby on Rails. Andy has over a decade of web application development experience, including roles on projects for HSBC and Nuffield Health, and is the driving force of front-end innovation and technical standards in the team.

To provide ongoing professional technical development, each Friday afternoon is dedicated to a personal technical project.

These projects afford us hands-on experience in new technologies that we subsequently used to great effect in Consonance. We would strongly recommend in-work side project time as a very efficient way to ensure continuing professional development and safe ways to try new ideas before committing to them in work code.

We volunteer at coding education events such as RailsGirls, Institute of Imagination, and run our own coding courses for publishers.

We work in efficient 6-week blocks, which encourages rapid, prioritised delivery of value to our customers, relying on tools including JIRA, Bitbucket and Confluence from Atlassian, Zendesk, Codeship, Heroku, AWS, Bugsnag and Skylight.

We have a number of accreditations including the UK Government’s Cyber Essentials and IASME Governance assessment which includes coverage for GDPR compliance.