The rapid growth of online products has more than compensated for the dip in print deliverables for the K–12 and higher-ed segments at Lapiz Digital in the past year, says president V. Bharathram. “K–12 publishers, especially, have shifted their focus and business strategies to meet the rising demand of virtual learning and edtech products during this pandemic era,” he says. “We have seen more inquiries for content authoring and rendering for different digital formats and platforms in recent months.”
The benefits of offering online products—which manifest primarily as savings on print production costs and the ability to provide new content and information updates speedily—are attractive to K–12 publishers. “They have increased their investments in digital products and content, and we fully expect to see the digital side of our business picking up even more going forward,” Bharathram says. “Educational publishers were moving from print to digital even before the start of the pandemic, but this momentum has accelerated in the past 16 months.” His team is gearing up to deliver more interactive e-books and AI-based adaptive learning tools, aside from content-authoring projects.
On the trade publishing side, there has been a significant increase in e-book conversion projects. “We also saw more accessibility-related conversions for educational publishing last year,” says Bharathram, whose team had completed a large volume of accessible content with interactivities for a major children’s book publisher, as well as an extensive content-rendering project across different subject matters with varying complexity levels for another educational publisher.
New contracts signed with several independent publishers bode well for the coming months. “Some of our current print-based clients have also started allocating digital projects with us,” says Bharathram, whose sales team has added several small- and medium-sized journal publishers from the Middle East and Africa to the client roster last year. “All in all, it was a good start for 2022. We are confident that print-based educational products will rebound once schools fully reopen in the U.S. and other major economies.” For now, Lapiz Digital’s major target markets continue to be North America and Europe.
Meanwhile, investments in security and cloud-based infrastructure for maintaining data integrity and protecting confidential information are taking center stage. “This is particularly crucial in our blended working environment, given the rise of hacking activities and security breaches in different parts of the world,” says Bharathram, who is busy expanding his team’s capabilities in providing accessibility solutions for the publishing segment. Diversification into the healthcare business, for which VR/MR and niche analytics services are being offered, is picking up speed.