With more publisher consolidation through mergers and acquisitions, changes in ownership and management structures, focus on digital platforms together with the advent of social media tools, and continuous disruption in content consumption, the global publishing industry is witnessing fast-paced shifts, says Rahul Arora, CEO of MPS Ltd. “These changes are happening while the industry grows in the low single digits with mostly stagnant print book sales and yet-to-be-realized digital revenues,” Arora says. “These have prompted a number of global publishers to bypass the conventional business models—opting instead to create some content in-house but progressively outsource a larger part of their requirements. They are working with fewer vendors, selecting those with wider services and technology-driven processes. At the same time, their in-house teams are focused on branding, technology, and marketing and using their sales and distribution reach to carve out a larger slice of the market.”
As such, a consultative stance in which publishers discuss their digital strategies with solutions providers and build digital products collaboratively works better in the longer term for both parties. “This is even more critical at the product-design phase, when budget, development timeline, launch date, and target devices have to be addressed as early as possible,” says Jeyashree Sundaram, digital project manager of Lapiz Digital Services, who adds that many of her company’s products and solutions “are bundled with support packages so that if a file format becomes obsolete, it can easily be upgraded to a higher version or converted to a new format, such as from Flash to HTML5.”
For Newgen KnowledgeWorks, the philosophy is to function as an extra hand for clients by forming dedicated teams with client-specific training, creating technological solutions, and offering a complete range of services, from content authoring to discoverability. “Our approach has always been to be a reliable partner to our clients, and we invest in long-term mutually beneficial relationships,” founder and CEO Prabhakar Ram says. In the past year, the company has moved into publishing and marketing support by expanding into developmental editing, virtual editorial office services, content research and authoring solutions, cloud-based delivery, and discoverability solutions. “Investing in technology to build easily scalable and cloud-based platforms has also enabled us to be an integrated technology-cum-service provider, giving us the ability to be a partner with deep engagements with clients,” Ram says.
Engaging Experiences Bring in Revenues
With mobile devices making it easier for everyone to multi-task, consume content, and learn on the go, the emphasis will be to bring diverse experiences together into applications that offer rich yet intuitive user experiences, says Uday Majithia, assistant v-p for marketing and presales at Impelsys. “Such collaborative solutions will be the key to drive user engagement and implement social media strategies—right from user identification to social engagement to gamification. Semantics will further help in building these collaborative experiences, brwinging together content and learning from different sources directly to users in personalized streams.”
Revenue, as usual, remains the biggest topic, says M.V. Bhaskar, chief creative officer of TNQ, “but the issue of engagement has to be considered since it is the only thing that translates into revenue. Publishers are striving for the right mix of engagement and big data, which will express the engagement tangibly and demonstrably.”
“STM publishers are unable to provide readers with a viable alternative to PDF,” Bhaskar says. “So readers access the publisher’s portal, download the required PDF, and then go away—which results in disengagement. The market needs more engaging ways to make readers read the PDF online, but that is just a half measure. We need HTML that has all the qualities of a PDF in terms of readability and portability. Such HTML can go beyond the PDF and deliver engagement metrics to publishers.”
Protecting Rights for Monetization
Convincing publishers of the necessity of conducting an audit of their existing rights is one of the biggest challenges for Randy Petway, executive v-p for product strategy at Ingenta (formerly Publishing Technology). “Unfortunately, investment in rights departments is not a high priority for most publishers. But with the rise of digital publishing and the proliferation of rights opportunities, it is a huge mistake for publishers to continue under the assumption that rights sales should not be focused on, exploited, and capitalized on.”
The struggle with curation and discovery among readers adds to publishers’ challenges for increasing revenue in existing and new markets. “Many of our products allow publishers to tackle these challenges,” says Emily Taylor Gregory, Ingenta’s head of marketing and communications. “The Rights and Royalties modules of the Ingenta Commercial suite, for instance, identify all current rights and licenses that a publisher holds and helps to increase ROI on those rights and licenses. Then there is Ingenta Advertising to help publishers to maximize the value of their audience with streamlined ad sales, packaged ad buys, and multichannel campaigns, which will generate new revenues from previously untapped sources.”
Meanwhile, watermarking technology to protect rights is constantly improving. “It not only supports new ePub formats and variants, but also incorporates more algorithms to improve performance and compatibility,” says Huub van de Pol, the founder and manager of Icontact, which developed the watermarking and personalization delivery platform BooXtream. “Since a watermarked e-book is essentially DRM-free and does not use encryption, there is no need to upgrade reading apps when watermarking technology improves. That is still one of the major advantages of watermarking: that any watermarked ePub is 100% compatible with all e-book hardware and software.”
E-book watermarking is also gaining traction in other areas of the digital distribution chain. “Several publishers and distributors are using channel watermarking, which enables them to track and identify possible early ‘leaks’ within the distribution channel,” van de Pol says. “Some e-book apps also utilize watermarking as a second line of defense—by offering an extra layer of security to protect the ‘enclosed and locked’ e-book content—in case the app is hacked.”
The following pages highlight what some companies are offering in the digital space and how they are dealing with changes in the marketplace.
CollectionPoint 4.0 (CP 4.0), the next generation of CodeMantra’s flagship content-services platform, is set for launch at this year’s London Book Fair. “Publishers told us about the challenges and aspirations driving their business. We listened,” CEO Ed Marino says, adding, “We set out to use technology, automation, and process management, to make a better mousetrap. But we needed our deep publishing experience to create an innovative solution to improve the competitive position of our publishing partners. Hence, CP 4.0, which supports an entire publishing program from content creation to delivery via one unified system.”
The new-generation platform delivers its range of services in three main categories. Collaborate on CP provides an efficient collaboration tool for the development of a publisher’s content. Significantly, it aligns with any existing customer workflow, making it nondisruptive and highly cost-effective. The Manage on CP suite is an enhanced solution for the management and distribution of products and metadata across global channels. This suite addresses important challenges in the management of vast amounts of metadata and product assets through a wide range of distribution and institutional channels and uses a rich sales reporting capability. Engage on CP provides customer engagement that leverages the publisher’s intellectual property across a range of services, including product catalogue generation, direct-to-customer delivery, and community engagement.
“CP 4.0 preserves the flexibility, scalability, and ease of use of the older versions while adding many new features and performance improvements,” Marino says. “Additionally, with the implementation of an API [application program interface] layer, CP 4.0 can communicate with external systems freely and is extensible through the easy integration of new applications.”
The new version is “not a one-size-fits-all solution,” Marino says. “Instead, it is the proven content solutions platform to solve a wide range of publisher challenges flexibly. It is configurable to meet the specific needs of a publisher through standardized modules that are then tailored to meet their requirements.”
Head over to stand 3B19 to check out CP 4.0, view the demos, and obtain more information from the team.
Introduced late last year, the WordPress/WooCommerce plug-in is now BooXtream’s most successful e-book watermarking solution. “The plug-in links the industry standard WooCommerce Web shop software for WordPress with our Dashboard and Web service,” says Huub van de Pol, the founder and manager of Icontact, which developed BooXtream.
The free plug-in allows small and midsize publishers to sell direct to consumers, and self-published authors to set up e-book Web shops without requiring any programming skills. “WooCommerce handles the e-commerce function while BooXtream takes care of repository, reporting, watermarking, and personalization,” van de Pol says.
BooXtream’s business model is strictly pay-by-use, and not linked to the e-book price. “We have a tiered price list, starting at €99, that accommodates everything from incidental usage to high-volume usage,” van de Pol says. “The price per transaction includes watermarking and personalization as well as master file storage, Mobi conversion, download link fulfillment, and access to our Dashboard management portal.” Van de Pol says he is open to customized services and corresponding pricing.
The Primary English Teaching Association of Australia, for instance, has its information system interfaced with the BooXtream API, which it then uses to deliver watermarked and personalized courses to students. Another client, a midsize U.K.-based customer, started using BooXtream exclusively for channel watermarking. “Instead of watermarking every e-book sold to the end users, they choose to watermark master copies sent to different retailers,” van de Pol says. “Through this method, the publisher is able to track and identify possible early leaks within the distribution channel.”
The Amsterdam-based subscription service Elly’s Choice has adopted BooXtream technology and delivered a couple of million watermarked copies to subscribers. Another client, one of Britain’s leading publishers of political and current affairs titles, uses BooXtream when selling e-books direct to customers. Lektu, the first independent e-book Web shop in Spain, has also adopted BooXtream. And Texas-based Epistemy Press is using the technology to sell reference guides and resources to professional and academic audiences in the SAP ERP sector.
Van de Pol, who is at booth 3B26, will be talking about “E-book Watermarking and Personalization: Beyond a Better DRM” and offering case studies of BooXtream technology in the Tech Theatre on April 13 at 12 p.m.
A massive re-engineering effort covering two flagship products—iPublishCentral (for e-book distribution) and KnowledgePlatform (content and learning solutions)—takes the center stage at Impelsys. “In line with our goal to provide a one-stop solution to publishers and to enable them to deliver any content and learning to their B2B and B2C markets, we have now placed KnowledgePlatform under the iPublishCentral suite umbrella,” says Uday Majithia, assistant v-p for marketing and presales at Impelsys.
The SaaS (software as a service) platform now comes in three versions: iPublishCentral Ebooks (with features such as white-label portal, built-in digital rights management (DRM), online and offline readers, apps, e-commerce, and analytics); iPublishCentral Enhanced (for complex and media-rich content delivery); and iPublishCentral Learn (to help publishers and educators transform their online learning delivery; supports SCORM, LTI, QTI, and other standards). All three can be seamlessly integrated with each other and with clients’ existing infrastructures.
Another new service from Impelsys is courseware development, in which the team “offers development of interactive courses replete with ancillaries, assessments, and supporting media for deeper learner engagement and understanding. It is a world away from plain textbooks or journals,” says Jagadesh Kumar, assistant v-p for content engineering, whose team has already developed and delivered several courses for clients in recent months.
Tapping into the growing trend of online learning in emerging markets is yet another expansion strategy at Impelsys. Its three-year partnership with Bogota-based Hipertexto has seen a dozen Colombian publishers implement iPublishCentral. “In India, our local partner Global Information Systems Technology uses iPublishCentral to deliver scholarly content from global and Indian publishers to academic institutions and libraries across the subcontinent,” says Majithia, who is expecting similar partnerships in other parts of the world this year.
Visit booth 3B11 for more information, or attend the following talks at the Tech Theatre: “Transformation of Publishing: Reading to Learning” by Stefan Kend, executive v-p for sales, at 10:30 a.m. on April 12, and “Why Semantics Matter? Adding the Semantic Edge to Your Content, Right from Authoring to Delivery,” jointly presented by Impelsys founder and CEO Sameer Shariff and Atanas Kiryakov, CEO of Ontotext, at 11 a.m. on April 13.
The company previously known as Publishing Technology has now cohesively brought together all of its products and services under one brand, Ingenta. “It allows us to cross borders and markets seamlessly, and creates an identity that reflects what we are as a business: an engaging and creative international company with innovative products and solutions that make a real difference to our customers,” says Emily Taylor Gregory, head of marketing and communications.
Rebranding activities aside, Ingenta has been busy adding new clients and extending existing contracts in recent months. The American Society for Microbiology, for instance, has extended its online hosting contract with Ingenta. Its ASMscience digital platform now hosts more than 250 titles along with the monthly membership magazine Microbe, the education-based journal JMBE, the new journals EcoSal Plus and Microbiology Spectrum, and a growing selection of supplementary research content.
Sabinet, a South African electronic publication aggregator, has signed an agreement to launch the packaged Web solution CMS Go! on Ingenta. “This partnership allows Sabinet to host its major journal service, the Sabinet African ePublications, on our out-of-the-box solution, which was launched late last year,” Taylor Gregory says.
Meanwhile, Ingenta’s sales and marketing consulting company, Publishers Communication Group (PCG), has signed a deal with Henry Stewart Publications to represent the publisher’s 16 journals, primarily at an institutional level, across major international markets, including China, Europe, India, Latin America, North America, and the U.K.
PCG’s seven-year partnership with nonprofit scientific publisher BioOne also went a step further with the recent extension of its global sales and marketing representation contracts. With 190 journals in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences, BioOne serves a community that includes more than 145 society and institutional publishers, 4,000 accessing institutions, and millions of researchers across the globe.
Visit booth 7G41 for more information on Ingenta and its clients, or head over to the Faculty on April 13 at 11:30 a.m., when Byron Russell, head of Ingentaconnect, will chair the panel talk “What Is a Publisher Now? Yes, It’s Open: But Where on Earth Is It?” On the next day, at the same venue and time, join Melissanne Scheld, managing director of PCG, and Leighton Chipperfield, publishing director at Microbiology Society, in conversation on “Leveling the Playing Field: How Smaller Society Publishers Use Technology to Aim High.”
Lapiz Digital Services
This London Book Fair will find the Lapiz team focusing on children’s books and showcasing recent projects done for clients in the sector. “Midsize children’s book publishers in particular are not sure what they want for their limited budget, and this is where they will benefit from our experience in both print and digital,” says digital project manager Jeyashree Sundaram, whose team has developed various HTML-based e-tools and reusable interactivities that are also available as off-the-shelf products. “In most cases, the functionalities and interactivities that our team has developed are highly customizable and easily replicated for new titles or volumes in the same series, or when a title is translated into other languages. Such templated tools are reusable and adaptable, thereby optimizing the cost of production while reducing the turnaround time.”
Company president V. Bharathram notes that production cost is tied to workflow management efficiencies.
“Now that publishers require both print and digital deliverables, quality control comes into the forefront,” he says. “Often QC cost for a digital product is higher than the production costs as digital files need to be device-agnostic and QC-ed across many operating systems. At Lapiz, we have automated numerous QC tools for new media projects in order to rein in QC costs.”
This familiarity with the QC process has given the team a lot of practice in auditing projects such as content and learning management systems, archived typeset files, and fixing HTML5 bugs. For one project in which the publishing client deployed several production houses for layout services, Lapiz was asked to quality audit the archived typeset files. “The huge volume and extensive coordination with multiple stakeholders across different time zones required our team to automate the management process, further resulting in substantial time and cost savings,” says Bharathram, who reports a significant increase in quality-auditing projects in recent months. “Our analytics team was then able to generate reports speedily, which helped our client to rate their production vendors and highlight recurring issues.”
To learn more about Lapiz’s e-tools and auditing services, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment or visit lapizdigital.com.
Visitors to Newgen’s booth (7C19) will be amazed by the plethora of new products and solutions on display there. There is the MyOwnBook portal, for instance, which is a virtual office for publishers and editorial assistants to manage content contributors, manuscript development, and preparation work for production handover. “It brings the stakeholders into a single interface with the necessary bells and whistles, and effectively streamlines the communication among authors, editors, and publishers,” president Maran Elancheran says.
The RedShift platform, on the other hand, is designed to help publishing clients get content at the right time and produce it faster with the most efficient workflow possible while reducing redundancies. “It is an integrated publishing solution that enables authors and publishers to write and edit through a simple Word interface and create print-ready PDF, XML, ePub, and HTML outputs on the fly,” says Elancheran, whose team also offers fixed layout and reflowable ePubs, and enhancement of reader experience through interactivity and accessibility.
Beyond creating e-books, the key challenge to any publisher, Elancheran says, “is discoverability. Publishers recognize the need to understand how readers discover content and the factors that can ease or impede that discovery. To this end, our marketing and discovery team offers innovative and proven solutions that will improve discoverability.”
Another new product is Nova, a mobile-first platform that enables publishers to provide digital copies to customers who have purchased the physical titles, and helps them understand customer preferences. Authors, contributors, and editors can also receive their complimentary copies through Nova, which saves publishers some money in sending out the print books.
Then, there is Jaws Evolve, a platform-based journal-publishing system that integrates article submission, peer review, and production processes. Elancheran says the underlying content-management system, workflow management, and tracking system “makes this an elegant solution for journal publishers. For distribution of journals and articles through tablets, we have ResearchPad, a white-labeled solution that eliminates any bespoke work for tablet distribution. It seamlessly converts XML to ePub and delivers the content on the fly to the end users. It also offers library features and search functions.”
Three new solutions—Jet, BoxOffice, and CourtQ—are the focus for the SourceHOV team in London.
The automated content extraction platform Jet intelligently recognizes and classifies data using natural-language processing and machine-learning tools. “It automatically identifies critical fields to be extracted, and once extracted, the data is available for future queries or actions,” says Nakul Parashar, v-p for enterprise content management, adding that “by removing manual intervention, the publisher does away with vendor dependency and is able to speedily go to market. This translates into time, cost, and quality advantages.”
BoxOffice is a composite enterprise information management solution that ingests, extracts, and stores key data from documents. “It helps in aggregating, enhancing, summarizing, and routing content for real-time repurposing and archival. For business units within a publishing company, BoxOffice empowers them with actionable and trackable intelligence,” Parashar says, adding that “cloud-based BoxOffice offers greater security, a drastic reduction in paper handling, and allows role-based access for seamless retrieval in most formats.” Major modules within BoxOffice include content aggregation, conversion, extraction, enhancement, classification, summarization, and XML generation.
CourtQ, as its name implies, is targeted at the legal sector, enabling users to efficiently search, monitor, and mine within court documents for actionable intelligence based on recent case activity. Parashar says that working with two large legal-content aggregators for the past two decades has given the team a lot of insight into legal editorial operations: “We have worked on automating most of the processes, and CourtQ reaps the benefits of that understanding and automation.”
Publishers, Parashar says, “are looking at achieving high quality, better project management, faster turnaround times, and content repurposing at much lower costs, which are all major challenges to solutions providers like us. Cost reductions have now become critical to survival for many publishing clients. At SourceHOV, we took these challenges as our guiding spirit to achieve our objectives, which is to help publishers. Many of our products have been deployed at a number of large organizations as enterprise-wide solutions, and proven successful in helping publishers.”
Contact Parashar (email@example.com) and director of enterprise content management sales Gary Rodrigues (firstname.lastname@example.org) for demos on their latest solutions during the fair.
Proof Central, TNQ’s proofing platform, has handled more than 800,000 STM pages from more than 1,500 journals across all subject areas from large publishers and societies. The most interesting new addition to this platform is Page Central, an independent SaaS that is now bundled with Proof Central. Based on a patent-pending engine, Page Central updates the content changes and user edits into a neat page view that looks like a typeset PDF. “But it is not PDF; it is essentially an HTML page that is shown with page breaks,” chief creative officer M.V. Bhaskar says. “The floats and notes are placed logically within the HTML page. Images, for instance, do not ‘overfloat’ or spill across pages as we often see in ePub files. The same goes for tables.”
Page Central rotates large tables to fit the width to the greater dimension. “When tables continue across pages, the table header shows up on every page. Obviously, the content is hyperlinked as it is HTML,” Bhaskar says, adding that “the user does not need to install a plug-in or program. Page Central does the pagination in seconds, using the browser. It has everything that users and publishers expect of a typeset PDF, with much less of the process loads of a PDF-based publishing process.”
Bhaskar says Page Central inventor Suki Venkatesan “once referred to it as TNQ’s landing on the Moon. Well, it may well be for publishing as well since our surveys report a healthy ‘want’ metric. I believe that Page Central is the fastest way to autogenerate an elegant page, using just the browser to go from XML to HTML and on to PDF. You don’t need any other application or server-side pagination to go from XML to typeset HTML.”
Meanwhile, Author Cafe, TNQ’s WYSIWYG HTML-authoring platform, is now going through two rounds of user-acceptance testing, first with a small group of mathematicians and then with hundreds of users from across the sciences. Bhaskar says the public beta version, slated for June, “represents TNQ’s decisive push in taking the entire publishing process into the online space.”
Get more information on Proof Central, Page Central, and Author Cafe from Bhaskar and chief digital officer Abhigyan Arun at booth 7J34.