A fast-growing publishing firm plans to double in size in the next three years as part of a new strategy to tackle online piracy.
Packt Publishing, based in Livery Street in the Jewellery Quarter, has already expanded from 30 to 60 staff in Birmingham in the past two years, as well as 360 in Mumbai, on the back of surging demand.
The print-on-demand company, which makes e-books and video tutorials about new software, sells to almost every country in the world.
Chief executive Dave Maclean said he wanted the company to become subscription based – like Netflix or Spotify in other markets – to boost growth by improving service and fending off a rising tide of pirates.
"We have probably doubled the size of the company in the last two years and in the next three years we want to do the same again. That is our projected rate of growth," he said.
"The initial driver is there is more and more software, which drives more and more titles, which draws more and more revenue. It has been a fairly simple circle.
"But the way we have slightly added to the circle is to say we want to move people from buying individual books to a subscription model.
"Essentially, we are trying to go from being in the video sales business to a Netflix-style offering. We are saying to people pay by the month and you get all 2,500 of our titles and the 700 new ones we publish in a year."
Packt published its first book in 2004 and has become one of the world's most prolific publishers of its kind, producing up to 100 e-books in a month – while some competitors create fewer than that in a year.
Its customer base is global but the Middle East and Nordic countries are particularly strong.
Unlike the traditional publishing model, Packt identifies subject matter itself and locates experts to write guides.
A major part of the Birmingham operation is finding software issues which are becoming more prevalent – often using Google Trends – to establish a market.
Mr Maclean said he did not have copyright protection on his products because that would mean pirates had greater freedom than customers.
The team in Mumbai scours the world for copied versions of e-books and sends out cease and desist notices – but he accepts that online piracy can be a difficult beast to manage.
So the new business-to-business service is aimed at making Packt so easy to deal with that even the pirates use it.
Mr Maclean said: "The idea is it is actually easier for the people who both used to steal our content and buy one-offs. Your service has got to bring everybody to the party.
"If you look at Spotify or Netflix, what they have done is even for people who illegally copy music they have made it easier to use them."
The firm is also investing heavily in video to roll into its new subscription platform.
Mr Maclean said: "Three or five years down the road, we want to be a predominantly subscription business rather than an individual transaction business.
"That is a big part of why we have expanded the headcount in Birmingham. That is a big software development investment and it is a more complex business in a way, so we have hired in new senior managers with experience in product management and marketing to give us that capability.
"The second thing we have added in is video. As well as offering people a chance to learn through text, they can learn by showing them on screencast video. The distribution channels are different – there is no Amazon in video – we are looking for partners but they are smaller and more fragmented businesses."