Publishers continue to struggle with print vs. digital issues, says Marianne Calilhanna, marketing director of Cenveo Publisher Services. “Bottom lines are getting squeezed and the pressure to produce multi-output content is intense,” she explains. “Publishers want to know whether apps make sense for the STM segment, how to make money from e-learning, how the market will adapt to HTML5, or what HTML5 means for their digital products. These complex questions have no easy, single answer. The real answer is, ‘It depends,’ but that is, of course, not a satisfying response.”
Challenging and Changing Mind-sets
What is definite—and obvious—is the way publishers are starting to think about how print can support digital and vice versa. Calilhanna finds that “consumers no longer exist within separate buckets, but rather move across different media. A digital product is just one aspect of a greater publishing ecosystem, of which the print medium still plays an important part. The ‘print-is-dead’ hysteria has died down, as it is proven to be untrue and rather passé, and it is becoming clear that print and digital will enjoy a synergistic relationship.”
For now, inertia and a legacy mind-set remain the two biggest stumbling blocks preventing more publishers from adopting new technologies. “We have encountered and responded to RFPs from publishers who are actively looking for solutions,” says Michael Cairns, CEO of Publishing Technology. “We also contended with many who just realized that they need to start looking, and some who have not even figured out yet—or can’t admit—that their systems are unfit for today’s marketplace and customer demands. It is often when the costs of not upgrading becomes apparent that reluctant publishers take the plunge.” He adds that the opportunities may take the form of social network integration, monetization of rights, permissions compliance, digital fulfillment, semantic enrichment, or repackaging of content.
Keeping Up with Demands and Trends
Given the ever-evolving digital landscape, keeping in sync with the convergence of content and technology, and with new publishing demands, is paramount. “With publishing shifting toward more of a learning experience instead of just online reading, our products and services have also evolved in order to help publishers thrive in a world where voice, data, and video come together, and where information delivery is combined with learning and entertainment,” says Uday Majithia, assistant v-p for marketing and presales at Impelsys, adding that publishers are also looking to offer their content and learning programs on a single platform. “Our role is to help publishers to increase their brand presence, establish their content and products, and put them right in front of their users—and to make it easy for them to do all that and more.”
Over at Publishing Technology, the team is shining the spotlight on mobile phone e-reading as a growing habit that may eclipse other e-book channels such as dedicated e-readers and even tablets. While the mobile phone has its shortcomings as an e-reading device, Cairns says, “it does provide new opportunities to engage with readers in a variety of settings, economic levels, and regions as the technology evolves and levels the playing field. Publishers will want to pay close attention to how they tailor and deliver content to this wide and ready-equipped global market.” (At ConTec Frankfurt, he unveiled the findings of a new U.K./U.S. survey on the rise of mobile e-reading and its implications on publishers, device manufacturers and readers; the survey findings are available from www.publishingtechnology.com/research).
Managing Data, Big and Meta
From the micro to the macro, publishers now have to contend with the way they deal with, and leverage, data.
For SourceHOV, it is about “working with publishers to automate their content creation and enrichment at one end, and social media analysis and data mining at the other,” says director of business development Gary Rodrigues. “We believe that publishers need to embrace tools that give them direct access to and ownership of their customer data as they continue to engage with the market directly. It is all about actionable intelligence.” He adds that a big data solutions platform, delivered through sister company Rule 14, is one of SourceHOV’s innovative technologies to continually drive improvements in the digital publishing workflow.
Legal publishers, for example, are faced with an ever-increasing volume of primary law globally. “The need to add value, improve searchability, and publish into local and international markets has a dramatic impact on costs,” Rodrigues explains. “Such issues are similar to those faced by STM publishers with the increasing amount of content for abstraction and indexing.”
As for metadata, the biggest misconception “is that it is too complicated for publishers and authors to understand,” says John Bantivoglio, CEO of GiantChair, pointing out that “it is the same book information that industry people have dealt with since the dawn of publishing. But with e-book distribution and e-commerce, the quantity and variety of metadata that publishers need to provide—in Onix, for instance—have become complex because each print and digital format has its own metadata requirements, and each receiver of that metadata may want to view it in different ways.” So the latest standard, Onix 3.0, “reflects a global and multilingual market with more ways of pricing, distributing, accessing, selling and sharing the information across geographic barriers,” he explains. “It also creates a standard communication tool that reduces the need for customized messages for individual receivers.”
Publishers need to embrace metadata because it holds the key to discoverability and profitability, which leads to a book being purchased or borrowed. “Good metadata enables publishers to take advantage of new sales channels and to easily market the rights to, and update prices for, their titles,” Bantivoglio says. Onixsuite, GiantChair’s cloud-based metadata management platform, breaks down the process to make life easier for publishers and distributors.
The following pages highlight what some companies are offering in the digital space, and include further thoughts on trends.
Cenveo Publisher Services
Working toward the goal of streamlining publishing workflows and providing a single-source, multichannel publishing process, Cenveo Publisher Services has launched a cloud-based ecosystem that provides a new experience in content development and delivery.
The Cenveo Publisher Suite, which made its debut at the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s 2014 annual meeting in May, is made up of three interlinked toolsets. As marketing director Marianne Calilhanna explains, “It starts with Smart Edit, a pre-edit, copyedit, and conversion tool that automates common tasks authors and editors perform during the content creation and production process. This output is then ingested by automated composition engine Smart Compose, which generates proofs based on publishers’ styles. [Then] Smart Proof, an online proofing and correction tool, takes over, presenting composed pages via any Web browser while offering an interface for real-time content updating.” Cenveo now uses this system to support many of its STM journal publishing customers.
Meanwhile, the team has also been busy developing rich-media learning content for various publishers. One K–6 math project, for instance, required the creation of more than 20,000 screens, storyboarding for upwards of 500 Web games, and 2,000 complex interactions and simulations. Cenveo collaborated with the client’s product management, and instructional and multimedia design teams to build requirements for the product, and set up the processes and engagement model to enable rapid development. “We had to define the acceptance criteria, standards, guidelines, and metrics together with a risk-management framework,” Calihanna says. “Interaction templates, gaming engines, and graphic libraries were developed and completed early in the lifecycle so as to mitigate risks associated with complex multimedia development.”
For another project requiring the development of 300 instructional animation objects for English language arts (ELA) and mathematics curricula, tight coordination between Cenveo’s onshore/offshore offices and the K–12 publishing client was crucial. “Since it was the publisher’s first foray into digital development, they were often not able to visualize the product until a working prototype was created,” Calilhanna says. “To mitigate the risks related to the requirements, our team worked with the client through many development cycles—including detailed visual storyboard—before a working version was produced.” Her U.S. team, Calilhanna adds, worked with the authors, created a detailed script with commentary, instructions and visual design direction, and handed it off to the animation and visual design team in Mumbai.
To learn more about Cenveo’s expertise and suite of solutions, email Calilhanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cenveopublisherservices.com.
The novel idea of placing e-book gift cards in mass-market retail stores has gained a lot of traction in recent months, with Enthrill now in the midst of launching a large e-book program with Walmart Canada. Available in some 300 stores, the program will have a diverse selection from publishers including HarperCollins, Harlequin, Kensington, and Scholastic.
“We had spent the past couple of years building the infrastructure, doing focus groups and niche-market testing,” says Enthrill co-founder and CEO Kevin Franco. “Now that the information and results are in, we are ready to enter heavy-traffic retail locations such as Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, and LS Travel Retail. This fall, our e-book gift cards will be placed in nearly 1,000 retail stores.”
Then there is Enthrill’s author card program, an idea that caught on after Guy Kawasaki adopted it for his book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, co-written with Shawn Welch. “He can now sell and sign e-books at his speaking events, thus carrying thousands of e-books in person, something that he could not do with print books,” Franco says. “We have also helped publishers to sell to corporate customers through cloud-based software Endpaper. They simply log in, create download codes for specific titles, and email those codes to their customers, without worrying about the type of devices their customers may own. It gives publishers total control to sell directly and allows them to fulfill B2B orders.” Enthrill, he adds, delivers to all reading devices including dedicated e-ink readers.
“Our distribution is truly device-agnostic, as we deliver into the reading environment that the consumer is using,” Franco explains. “We do not change consumer habits by having them download another app. We put their book on the bookshelf they already use, so we are able to collect consumer data that is otherwise not accessible: we know what devices are being used as well as which apps are used on which devices. Such data is invaluable to publishers who wish to tailor their content based on their users’ reading environment and experience. Endpaper also has engagement tools that publishers can use to directly access their end consumers.”
For more on Enthrill and its solutions, join Franco at the Hug the Alien roundtable, “Beyond Beta: Publishing Start-ups Making an Impact in the Marketplace,” October 8 at 2 p.m. in Hall 4.2’s Dimension Room; or visit booth N94 in Hall 8.
Metadata is at the core of GiantChair. Its cloud-based metadata management system Onixsuite has helped more than 100 clients. “Onixsuite allows publishers, retailers, authors, and distributors to easily create, correct, update, enhance, and distribute book metadata in multiple languages and currencies from anywhere with a Web connection,” says CEO John Bantivoglio, adding that Onixsuite is scalable to suit every need and budget—from an inexpensive off-the-shelf solution to an enterprise-level platform (accompanied by data cleaning and optimization functionalities).
“Getting metadata cleaned and making it fit to share with the book supply chain is one of the challenges that publishers face,” he says. “This is where Onixsuite’s unique Scorecard and catalog management feature comes in. It highlights metadata errors with pinpoint accuracy that does away with cryptic exception reports or, worse, rejected files. So finding and fixing batches of titles with similar problems can be done in minutes. But for publishers who need to clean up a large volume of metadata quickly, our team offers custom data-cleaning.”
Bantivoglio says he finds it difficult to get publishing and distribution industry people to understand that metadata is everyone’s business. “With the Internet, book information is accessible globally, which means that the potential reading audience is also global,” he says. “Metadata coordination therefore merits executive management–level collaboration that goes beyond the lone IT department. Those in editorial, sales, marketing, content creation, logistics, and so on need to get involved to ensure quality metadata that will help in selling and promoting the titles.”
But perhaps the biggest challenge lies in convincing publishers of the dramatic ROI that metadata—and Onixsuite—can deliver. “Many publishers also seem to think that the only way to share their metadata is through an Excel spreadsheet or by relying on their distributors to create good metadata for them,” Bantivoglio explains. “They miss the point: those closest to the titles or work create the best metadata. And with Onixsuite, they do not really need to understand Onix 2.1 or Onix 3.0 to make it work.”
Attend GiantChair’s “Sell More Books and Communicate Better Using Onix” presentation, October 10, at 11 a.m., in Hall 8’s Hot Spot Digital Innovation, or visit Bantivoglio and his team at booth M144 in the same hall to learn more about metadata and its benefits, and about Onixsuite.
Used by more than 100 publishers, Impelsys’s flagship e-book delivery platform, iPublishCentral, has been continually updated based on the latest market requirements. “The newest, 6.0 version is our mobile-focused initiative that allows publishers to offer their users easy purchase, navigation, and search options direct from handheld devices,” says assistant v-p for marketing and presales Uday Majithia, whose goal is to help publishers stay ahead of the market by providing them with innovative solutions and new functionalities. “With this mobile-first approach, iPublishCentral 6.0 has further enhanced the user experience with features such as dictionary lookup, text to speech, and usability changes to the administration console.”
Also from Impelsys is Appiness, its product and service line for app development services. “Appiness to us is like a happiness campaign that we are spreading through great apps that offer readers one-of-a-kind reading experience on their tablets and mobile devices,” Majithia explains. “Our AppStudio team has developed more than 100 apps for STM, educational, children’s, and trade publishers. On the other hand, we have KnowledgePlatform, an XML-based all-inclusive customizable platform enabling personalized reading, researching and online learning experience. It is built to support books, journals, reference works, multimedia and online courses.” Majithia also points out that the platform is modular, extendable, and supports integration with existing applications through a range of APIs (application program interfaces).
By using KnowledgePlatform, publishers can set up content repositories—for books, journals, databases, or any other digital content—or create advanced e-learning solutions with adaptive assessments. “Easy-to-use interface makes both content and learning solutions modules a breeze for publishers and administrators to create, customize, and maintain,” says marketing manager Shubha Khaddar. “Portals built using this framework can support delivery of online teaching resources and integrated assessments. We have used it to create an integrated platform that allows one client’s 40,000-plus members access to comprehensive topic-specific and educational content in geriatric medicine.”
Another client, an association for financial planning, used KnowledgePlatform to make its taxonomical content available to online readers. The portal is categorized into chapters, sections and subsections with enhanced search capabilities and seamless navigation. Learn more about this platform and other Impelsys products and solutions at stand K55 in Hall 4.2.
This Frankfurt Book Fair will find the Publishing Technology team launching a newly upgraded Ingentaconnect service with an improved interface and user experience, and enhanced features such as Connect Compilations, which enables collating and repackaging of different content types to create customized e-publications. Then there is the new digital-only Order to Cash application for publishers looking to create and distribute digital content without replacing their print fulfillment systems. “The latter is a part of our advance enterprise system,” says marketing manager Michael Groth, “which will be showcased alongside other industry-specialized software and services such as Pub2web digital hosting platform and Publishers Communication Group [PCG] sales and marketing consultancy.”
The Order to Cash module was recently adopted by Macmillan Distribution and Éditions Lefebvre Sarrut (ELS). As Groth explains, “It allows Macmillan Distribution to offer publishers an increasing number of subscription-based models for both digital and print content while providing readers with a seamless user experience at the point of purchase. As for ELS, the new system allows it to package, market, deliver, and sell all of its print, e-book, and video content on French tax, law, and business from a single application. It replaces a complex and disparate series of legacy sales and billing solutions across three subsidiaries.”
Meanwhile, 20 new publishers—including Amsterdam University Press, East View Press, the Institute of Education Press, Scrivener Publishing, and the Society for American Archaeology—have joined more than 250 others that have hosted nearly 10,000 publications on Ingentaconnect and made their content discoverable in 26,000 libraries across 170 countries. “We are using our Pub2web platform to create a new journals portal for the Society for General Microbiology, and a global site for Beijing-based Zhonghua Book Company to host its collection of ancient Chinese works,” adds Groth, whose colleagues will be at Hall 4.2 (booth M35) and Hall 8 (F98) to showcase the company’s products and services.
CEO Michael Cairns will chair “What is a Publisher Now? Opportunities for the Post-Open Access Era” roundtable, at 11 a.m. on October 8 in Hall 4.2’s Hot Spot Professional and Scientific Information. Then, at 2:30 p.m., COO Randy Petway will pick up on the mobile e-reading conversation as the host of “The Great Debate: How Much Money is in Mobile” in Hall 8’s Publishing Perspective Stage. And at 3 p.m. on October 9, back in the Hall 4.2 Hot Spot, PCG managing director Melissanne Scheld will lead the “Spotlight on University Presses: How They Stay Dynamic and Relevant” panel.
SourceHOV and Rule 14
This is the first time SourceHOV, and its sister company Rule 14, are exhibiting at Frankfurt. “We intend to show publishers, both large and small, how easy it is to use Rule 14’s big data solution to drive their business forward,” says London-based director of business development Gary Rodrigues, adding that “legal and STM publishers—who are spending millions of dollars creating abstracts and summaries, and detailed metadata and taxonomies—can now use intelligent tools like Rule 14 to reduce cost, improve time to market, and add new data sources to their product portfolio.”
Publishers, aggregators, and distributors that have many thousands of customers through their direct-to market channels, Rodrigues says, “can now profile and capture real-time information from their systems, the Web and social media to aid them in real-time decision-making. This is particularly interesting to trade publishers, for instance, as they seek to understand what is selling now, and try and create the next bestseller.”
Recent months have seen the team helping one legal publisher to summarize more than 100,000 legal judgments from one jurisdiction. By studying manually crafted headnotes, the Rule 14 platform was able to accumulate a repository of underlying patterns within the judgments, and automatically extract key information using machine learning. In another project, for a business publisher wanting to gauge the level of interest and public sentiment about Afghanistan’s first democratic transfer of power following a presidential election, Rule 14 was asked to aggregate traditional news sources and social media outlets. Some of the results are published on demo.rule14.com/election.
But convincing publishers to try out Rule 14 is not easy. “There is an inherent level of suspicion about intelligent learning through machine, especially if the system is being asked to extract content from primary law or technical documents,” Rodrigues says. “But the technology is here and it takes time to ‘train’ the engine. The more data it handles, the better it gets, hence ‘Big Data’ solution. Some publishers want immediate and complete results, which may not be possible. It should be viewed pragmatically. Automating, say, 75% of the content creation will have a huge impact on costs and time to market. So we have to manage expectations and look for the optimum level of automation and human intervention.”
Shao-Shao Cheng, head of Rule 14, will present “Rule 14: Big Data Solutions for Publishers” at 1 p.m. on October 9 in Hall 8’s Hot Spot Digital Innovation. For more information, visit booth L132 in Hall 8 or email email@example.com.
LearningMate on the Changes Coming to the Education Market
Smarter workflow, content analytics and mobile delivery will influence how educational content and products are developed, managed and made available to students and teachers in the education market, from kindergarten to the postgraduate level, next year, observes CEO Samudra Sen of LearningMate.
“As the world increasingly adopts digital content as a mainstream teaching medium, enabling workflows for production becomes incredibly important. Smarter workflow starts right at the planning stage, where it is critical to interweave intuitive, easy-to-use tools with mechanisms that allow content to be easily aligned to learning objectives and standards as well as developed in such ways that it can be reused or re-sequenced for inclusion in various product configurations. Then rapid authoring of assessment and learning content is deployed. At this stage, creating collaborative working environments that allow groups to participate in content development becomes key. Next comes delivery and packaging where seamless output to multiple learning platforms and device types is required. Finally, analytics is brought in to track the workflow to continually assess its effectiveness and efficiency,” says Sen, pointing out that his company is developing tools to help create bite-sized learning materials that are aligned to competencies and standards. Content, he insists, needs to be highly engaging and portable across devices.
“Going beyond initial development, students and teachers expect their content and resources to be continuously updated and adapted to their usage,” adds Sen, whose team has developed an advanced sensor architecture for open content and proprietary delivery systems that can report back on key content performance parameters to various stakeholders in the product development process. “An acquisitions editor can now make informed decisions about revising a part of a product within days of its release to fine-tune its fit in the market. This same architecture also informs marketing and sales functions within the publisher’s organization with better data about how their customers are benefitting from various components of their products.”
In classrooms around the world, the conversation is shifting away from mobile delivery to teaching and learning workflows that work on any device and network, according to Sen. LearningMate’s GoClass platform, launched in 2012, for instance, has enabled teachers to effectively present and collaborate on learning materials with students in a classroom. “The GoClass platform incorporates advanced analytics that can help inform teachers and students to make better decisions about course design, teaching and learning. In the past year, the team has helped multiple content houses develop digital curricular resources using GoClass technology.”
By combining cutting edge advances in workflow, analytics and mobile delivery, Sen hopes “to create a future where publishers, teachers and students all work together to create better outcomes for our students.”
More on this future and the above key influences will be discussed by Sen along with a panel featuring senior executives from Cengage, John Wiley and Wolters Kluwers during “Embracing Innovation: Insights From Top Educational Publishers” on October 10, at 10:30 a.m., at Hall 4.2’s Hot Spot Education. Visitors can learn more about LearningMate and its products and solutions, and connect with Sen and his team at stand C92 in the same hall.
Tracking (and Dealing with) Key Workflow Trends at MPS
Newer and better workflows, tools, and processes are watchwords in the digital solutions industry. With the rise of self-publishing, open access, and interactive multimedia, the push for ever-dynamic content delivery across different platforms and devices is relentless.
For Narendra Kumar, senior v-p of technology at MPS Limited, the trends and shifts in workflow have never been more obvious than in the last few years. “The adoption of public domain DTDs [document type definitions], albeit customized to fit internal needs, is the most significant since many publishers have already developed and used their own DTD in the past,” Kumar says. “Such adoption of a standardized tag set, further moving toward standardized workflows, is good news for digital solutions providers like MPS, as well as online retailers and aggregators.”
Standardizing, automating, and simplifying workflows and processes are ways to obtain higher content accuracy and faster turnaround times. “STM publishers, for instance, are standardizing page layout and minimizing title-to-title design variation,” says Kumar, adding that “auto-page-proof production using standardized layout requires an efficient and streamlined workflow management system. Our product, DigiComp, is being used by several publishers to autogenerate page proofs from XML files.”
Achieving faster turnaround times is also about avoiding rework and minimizing delays. As Kumar explains, “This means shifting the process of checking the submission of artwork, content, and accompanying materials right to the start of the workflow management system. It improves efficiency and reduces wasted resources.”
Publishers are also embracing SAAS (software as a service) models for specific processes. Cloud-based digital publishing platforms, for instance, enable different people to work simultaneously on a specific project. They improve work efficiencies, and this reason alone has convinced the more conservative publishers to adopt them. At MPS, DigiEdit enables authors, reviewers, and copyeditors to review and edit content using a WYSIWYG-based system with XML in the background.
“Now that publishers are either overhauling or revamping their legacy tracking systems, dynamic cloud-based workflow management platforms are gaining favor,” Kumar says. “Implementing a highly configurable e-tracking system that is integrated with other in-house platforms gives publishers more operational agility to meet ever-evolving editorial and production processes in a shifting publishing world.” The quest for seamless job and metadata exchanges, he adds, has fast-tracked the integration of different publishing systems, platforms, and processes.
“Eliminating redundancies to produce a more streamlined and efficient workflow is the goal. Even manuscript submission and peer-review systems, which used to be separate, are being integrated into the production workflow,” according to Kumar. Back in 2010, Kumar and his team developed MPSTrak, a comprehensive workflow management system that offers a plug-and-play model with editorial, production and content management components. It integrates seamlessly with DigiEdit, DigiComp and DigiEnhance (to add interactivity to the content) modules of MPS DigiCore platform.
“Publishers have turned to ePub, the de facto standard, to support the multitude of devices in the market,” he explains. “So the workflow is now designed in such a way that the content is processed and finalized as a single standard, say XML, and then transformed into formats such as ePub, PDF, Mobi, and HTML. It is a one-source multi-product publishing process.” Kumar explains that the fast-growing demand for online-only multimedia-enriched materials has prompted publishing workflows to evolve and produce multi-deliverables for both print and online: “For instance, we have developed an efficient workflow to deliver multi-folio content to iTunes App Store for clients who sought help in distributing content across various mobile platforms.”
Another key trend, Kumar says, is the increasing call for semantic tagging and enrichment to ensure highly accessible and searchable content; at MPS, this means validating client content against CrossRef and PubMed databases to find DOIs (document object identifiers) or retrieve missing bibliographic and metadata information. “My team’s role is to quickly identify industry trends and publishers’ needs, and to either develop new solutions or adapt existing workflows to meet those needs.” Visit booth P17 in Hall 4.2 for more information.