Zed Books had a storming year in 2017. In this post, we explain how Consonance played a part in their success. It’s a great case study and an inspiring example of a publisher really committing to a long-term vision and seeing it through. Here’s how the journey began, how it evolved, and what we’ve achieved to date.

Zed Books in 2014

Zed Books came to us three years ago with an ambitious plan. They aspired to modernise their systems, transform their data and invest in a major rebrand. Adopting Consonance was one of their first and most fundamental steps to meet their objectives:

  • Invest in a three-year transformation project
  • Improve metadata to improve discoverability and sales
  • Automate a supply of rich content from Consonance to a new website
  • Automate ONIX feeds to third parties
  • Invest in bespoke AIs and press releases to convey Zed Books’ brand

Metadata transformation

We provided hands-on support and advice to import Zed Books’ data from their existing system - both products and also contacts. We worked over several months to review, complete and optimise their metadata to improve discoverability of front and backlist - for example, adding in secondary contributors and keywords. A nice example was adding the well-known travel writer Hilary Bradt to the metadata for Thank you, Madagascar as contributor of the foreword. The book now also appears in searches for Hilary Bradt on Amazon and other retailers, improving discoverability.

An automated workflow

  • Automated daily ONIX feeds to Nielsen, NBNi and other recipients, including POD arrangements to NBNi
  • Automated bespoke AI, Author profile and Press releases, designed to match new Zed branding (as below)
  • Partnership with Zed Books’ developers, Burgess and Beech, to power the new Zed Books website with the Consonance API feed.
  • Streamlined the set-up and maintenance of our API by making it possible to find out if data has changed instead of checking every product.


As one of our earliest clients, Zed Books’ success is very satisfying and the result of huge amounts of work on both sides - and much learning along the way. It’s brilliant to see the benefits of a single, reliable source of truth play out in a really impressive website (one of the best in the industry) - and higher sales. Zed Books are unique in their business model and their mission to champion marginalised voices is increasingly important in our changing times. As they mark their 40th anniversary, we’re especially proud to be supporting them and look forward to many more successful years.


  • Good data is the backbone that makes creativity possible. When you trust your data source and can automate and flex it, you can do the creative branding that helps you sell more books. Contact us to see how we can help you get your data into Consonance and optimised for better sales.

  • If you’re considering building a new website, Consonance can supply your book data automatically. Our API is documented here. Using the Consonance API, you and your developers have the freedom to design the website that’s right for your business, while Consonance provides an accurate source of your data. Check out Zed Books’ website here, and as below.

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