Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC Welcome New Chief Technology Officer

Longstanding book publishing tech companies continue to invest in strengthening their technology team with appointment of new CTO, Tom Shawver


Newburyport, MA (January 11, 2023)—Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC—each a strategic part of the Firebrand Group collection of companies owned by Media Do International (MD-i)—announced today the appointment of Tom Shawver in the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). As CTO of both companies, Shawver will lead and refine the overall technology strategy, ensuring scalability, security, and efficiency across multiple product lines. Shawver’s official start date is January 16, 2024.

“I’m excited to be part of two companies so pivotal to book publishing and helping publishers reach their audiences in the growing digital space,” said Shawver. “Strengthening the way readers find and enjoy new stories, information, and perspectives is both a professional and personal passion of mine. Firebrand and NetGalley define the industry standard with a collection of tools absolutely vital to their publishing partners and distribution network, and I’m both humbled and invigorated to have the opportunity to expand and streamline that platform with such an experienced team.”

A lifelong technologist, Shawver has spent over 15 years leading companies of all sizes—ranging from seed-stage to the Fortune 500—in embracing cutting-edge solutions to drive growth. Before Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC, Shawver was the Chief Technology Officer at 360 Media Direct, working with both book and magazine publishers to drive digital content adoption among readers.

Starting at the ground level of the cloud computing boom, Shawver has specialized in building software platforms that scale globally, react quickly, and stay highly integrated with other industry-leading software. He maintains and contributes to widely used open source software products that power thousands of companies worldwide, focusing on security and customer identity. He holds a degree in Computer Science from Albright College, where he also studied in the Music and Digital Media programs.

“We’re beyond excited for Tom to join our teams as Chief Technology Officer,” said Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC CEO Angela Bole. “Our unique, community-focused approach to technology development creates an optimal atmosphere for innovation and product success. I’m certain Tom’s experience and personal aptitude will fit in perfectly and prove vital to the future of our companies as we continue to adapt to serve our clients’ needs.”

Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC are fully-virtual technology companies working in and for the book publishing industry. In partnership, the companies have been helping publishers manage their internal workflows, digital distribution, and marketing efforts for over 35 years with technology solutions that touch the lives of thousands of print, ebook, and audio professionals every day.

In February 2021, Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC were 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. Bole, former CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association, succeeded Fran Toolan as CEO of Firebrand Technologies and NetGalley, LLC on February 1, 2023. Toolan remains on the companies’ board.

About Firebrand Technologies

Firebrand Technologies—a strategic part of the Firebrand Group collection of companies—is dedicated to providing leading software and services to help publishers succeed. Title Management tracks titles from pre-acquisition through post-production, marketing, and sales. Eloquence on Demand is the industry gold standard for implementing ONIX and maximizing control of how data reaches the marketplace. Eloquence on Alert’s proprietary title performance monitoring service collects key, hard-to-access details about your products from major online marketplaces and review sites, and puts all of that information directly at your fingertips. Firebrand Flywheel harnesses the power of AI-supported technology to identify hidden opportunities for driving backlist sales, precisely when it matters most. For more information, visit

About NetGalley, LLC

NetGalley helps publishers and authors promote digital review copies and audiobooks to book advocates and industry professionals. Hundreds of thousands of members rely on NetGalley’s secure, sustainable, and easy-to-use platform to discover books, share reviews, and champion literacy. The NetGalley team coordinates closely with publishers on targeted promotions, and provides training, strategy, and consultation for incorporating NetGalley into overall marketing and publicity efforts. NetGalley is a strategic part of the Firebrand Group collection of companies, which together provide leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. To learn more, visit

About Media Do International (MD-i)

Media Do International (MD-i) owns the Firebrand Group, a collection of companies including Firebrand Technologies, NetGalley, LLC, and Supadu Ltd. that provide leading software and services to help publishers achieve success. MD-i is itself 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. Media Do Co. Ltd.’s mission is to make more content available for more people. For more information, visit

Here’s a special message from Tom!


Meet the Team: Emily Lau

Originally Posted on We Are Bookish.
Visit We Are Bookish for more team interviews!

The NetGalley team has shared our staff readsour favorite audiobook narrators and book adaptationsfun facts about our company, and our most-anticipated reads of the year. And now it’s time to properly introduce ourselves! Throughout the year we’ll be profiling different members of the NetGalley team to share what we’re working on, our best tips for members, and more. Earlier this year, you met We Are Bookish’s Executive Editor and NetGalley’s Social Media Assistant Manager—now we want to introduce you to Technical Project Manager Emily Lau!

Meet Emily

Role: Technical Project Manager

Years at NetGalley: Almost 2 years

Last book requested on NetGalleyThe Dragon’s Promise by Elizabeth Lim

Book you recommend to everyoneCirce by Madeline Miller and The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner

An indie bookstore you loveMcNally Jackson

Tell us about your career trajectory: What brought you to book publishing and what led you to NetGalley?

My first foray into the book publishing industry was an internship at Penguin Random House during college. I was an intern for the Ebooks Development team, helping with the development and testing of tools used for ebook production. My experiences that summer really opened my eyes to how tech impacts the world of book publishing. I graduated college (with a degree in computer science and a minor in creative writing) and while job searching, I was telling people that I felt like I’d do something related to tech but not necessarily be a software engineer. I was also secretly hoping I could find something in the publishing industry. I kept an eye on the Publishers Lunch Job Board, where I stumbled across a job listing from NetGalley. It pretty much blew my mind how well the job fit with my experience and interests while also offering the opportunity to learn new things.

What does a typical day at NetGalley look like for you?

The first thing I do when my workday starts is check my email. I am part of the Product Management team and we often get emails with requests, issues, and questions from others on the NetGalley team. Throughout the day, I spend a lot of time researching and documenting, which helps with planning for improvements and new features. I also track progress on current projects, write and refine requirements for upcoming work, and help with testing to ensure the NetGalley platform looks and functions as expected.

What is your number one tip for new NetGalley members?

Take some time to look over and update your NetGalley Profile! Your NetGalley Profile should be up-to-date with the information that best represents you as a reader and book advocate.

What do you love most about your job? What do you wish people knew about your job?

I love working with so many dedicated and interesting people. I also enjoy researching, especially when we’re planning a new project. That’s always fun.

As for what I wish people knew about my job (besides what my responsibilities are and what my day-to-day looks like), not everyone knows that we work remotely at NetGalley. We’re all across the world, everyone works from home (or whatever location they work best in), and we have Slack, email, and scheduled Zoom calls as our main ways of communicating with each other.

What kind of reader are you: a mood reader, someone who crafts monthly TBRs, someone who participates in reading challenges?

Mood reader 100%! And I switch between books often. I read ebooks almost exclusively, but I’ll purchase physical copies of my favorite books and reread them. Occasionally I participate in reading challenges, but I use them more to keep track of what books I’ve read rather than to plan my next read. The Bookish Bingo boards are a lot of fun—after I finish a book (and draft my review), I look to see what box I can mark off on the board. I rarely get a bingo, but each board is a great visual of the books I read that month!

Do you have a 2022 reading resolution?

My 2022 reading resolution is to read 36 books. I would also like to read more poetry and more historical fiction this year.

Emily’s Last Five Star Reads

We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This by Rachel Lynn Solomon
The Tradition by Jericho Brown
Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater
Oddball: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer


Meet the NetGalley Team: Katie Versluis

Originally Posted on We Are Bookish.
Visit We Are Bookish for more team interviews!

The NetGalley team has shared our staff readsour favorite audiobook narrators and book adaptationsfun facts about our company, and our most-anticipated reads of the year. And now it’s time to properly introduce ourselves! Throughout the year we’ll be profiling different members of the NetGalley team to share what we’re working on, our best tips for members, and more. Here, we want to introduce you to Customer Success Manager Katie Versluis!

Meet Katie

Katie Versluis

Role: Customer Success Manager

Years at NetGalley: Six and a half!

Book you recommend to everyone: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

An indie bookstore you love: TYPE Books in Toronto, where I spent a million hours during publishing school. Mabel’s Fables, the stuff that dreams are made of! Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest queer bookstore in the world. And I can’t forget my local indie, Someday Books, where I’ll be buying out their entire stock of board books. Sorry, did you say just one?

What does a typical day at NetGalley look like for you?

I work with publishers—both large and small—to ensure that their books and audiobooks reach the hands of book advocates and influencers. On the day-to-day, that means an inbox full of questions from publishers about how their books can see the most success on NetGalley, troubleshooting tech questions, and queries about how to best use the tools we offer to their advantage! I also do lots of one-on-one training with publishers, strategy calls, sales calls… all the calls. 

What brought you to NetGalley?

I actually began using NetGalley as an intern for Second Story Press, a feminist publisher. It was my job to manage requests, and I had a blast doing it—sometimes falling behind on other projects because I loved using NetGalley so much. Studying members’ profiles and book blogs really appealed to me. After my internship was over, a sales assistant position at NetGalley happened to open up, and my former manager at the internship pushed me to apply! Nearly seven years and many job title changes later, here I am!

What recommendations do you have for anyone looking to follow a similar career path?

It was equally important to my career that I had a background in tech, as well as other more obvious publishing experience, like editorial and marketing. If you’re going through publishing school and they offer a technology specialization—take it! These types of jobs are in high demand and can be so fun and interesting. I love the tech side of my job. 

What is your number one tip for new NetGalley members?

Utilize the Reader Recommended carousel on each Category page! This is where the real gems are. They’re highly rated books that were vetted by other NetGalley members, so you know they’re good! I find a lot of my future reads here, and I have yet to be disappointed. 

How do you make time for reading?

That’s been a big struggle for me over the last few months! I’m currently 9 months pregnant and it can be hard to not fall asleep when I really want to be reading. A big help has really been my book club. It was formed during the pandemic and was not only a way to connect with my friends during that time but also helped me keep my eyes on a book regularly and in a way that kept me motivated and excited. 

In what ways have you seen the industry change since you first started, and in what ways do you hope it continues to evolve?

I really love how much audiobook accessibility has grown over the last few years. From the dinky little one-shelf section at your local bookstore to the enormous amount of digital availability that we have now, it’s been a joy to watch the growth in this particular section of the industry. 

And of course, I’m a firm believer that audiobooks are books, and listening to audiobooks totally counts as reading. Physical copy purists are just jealous we can read and eat snacks at the same time. 

Do you have a 2022 reading resolution?

To find the best baby book of THEM ALL!! Seriously, my kid isn’t even born yet and his dad has read him half the library already. 

Five Favorite Graphic Novels

Maus by Art Spiegelman
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
From Hell by Alan Moore
SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud