Tag Archives | publishing

Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries released by ARL

ARL Best PracticesLast week, The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) announced the release of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries. It was developed in partnership with the Center for Social Media and the Washington College of Law at American University.

This is a welcome document. The United States Copyright Office site provides only very general guidelines. For example, they state:

The distinction between fair use and infringement may be unclear and not easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.

The ARL document defines “fair use” as “the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances, especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant.” This has been a controversial subject for many years and the controversy only continues to grow more intense as published material is rapidly re-purposed for use on the Internet — a Google search of the phrase “fair use” turns up 33,600,000 pages, most of which add little real guidance.

The document points out:

Fair use is the right to use copyrighted material without permission or payment under some circumstances, especially when the cultural or social benefits of the use are predominant. It is a general right that applies even —- and especially -— in situations where the law provides no specific statutory authorization for the use in question. Consequently, the fair use doctrine is described only generally in the law, and it is not tailored to the mission of any particular community. Ultimately, determining whether any use is likely to be considered “fair” requires a thoughtful evaluation of the facts, the law, and the norms of the relevant community.

While the Code is written specifically for academic librarians it offers guidance that can be applied in other situations. It was developed from interviews with experienced research followed by small group discussions held with library policymakers around the country to reach a consensus on applying fair use.

The Code deals with such questions as: when and how much copyrighted material can be digitized for student use; whether video should be treated the same way as print; how libraries’ special collections can be made available online; and whether libraries can archive websites for the use of future students and scholars.

The Code identifies the relevance of fair use in eight recurrent situations for librarians:

  • Supporting teaching and learning with access to library materials via digital technologies
  • Using selections from collection materials to publicize a library’s activities, or to create physical and virtual exhibitions
  • Digitizing to preserve at-risk items
  • Creating digital collections of archival and special collections materials
  • Reproducing material for use by disabled students, faculty, staff, and other appropriate users
  • Maintaining the integrity of works deposited in institutional repositories
  • Creating databases to facilitate non-consumptive research uses (including search)
  • Collecting material posted on the web and making it available

Each situation is described in detail and then followed by a fair-use statement. The fair-use statement is then clarified with limitations and enhancements. For example, for the situation “Supporting teaching and learning with access to library materials via digital technologies” the Code states “It is fair use to make appropriately tailored course-related content available to enrolled students via digital networks”, but clarifies that with limitations that include “Use of more than a brief excerpt from such works on digital networks is unlikely to be transformative and therefore unlikely to be a fair use” and “Only eligible students and other qualified persons (e.g., professors’ graduate assistants) should have access to material.” The enhancements to the statement include “The case for fair use is enhanced when libraries prompt instructors, who are most likely to understand the educational purpose and transformative nature of the use, to indicate briefly in writing why particular material is requested, and why the amount requested is appropriate to that pedagogical purpose.”

The takeaway? It’s said well by Nancy Simms, the Copyright Program Librarian at the University of Minnesota Libraries, writing on The Copyright Librarian Blog:

The specific facts are of course still the real determinants of whether a particular use is fair, and of whether and how an institution chooses to tolerate the uncertainty that is necessarily concomitant with a fair use justification for any activities. But the Best Practices document gives the library community a great jumping-off point for deeper examinations of many of our common copyright use situations, and are a great contribution to the toolbox of anyone dealing with copyright issues, in libraries and beyond.

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DCL Learning Series Webinar: Crossing the Chasm with DITA

DCL Learning SeriesData Conversion Laboratory and and Dr. JoAnn Hackos, president of Comtech Services Inc. are producing a three part webinar on what DITA is and what it can do for your organization.  The first of this three part event will be Thursday, January 19, 2012 from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST so sign up now.

In this three-part webinar series, Dr. JoAnn Hackos, president of Comtech Services, Inc., will trace the progress of many organizations from the early phases of Exploration, Preparation, and Education through genuine progress through Pilot projects, purchasing of a Component Content Management System to keep everything in line, through the Conversion of legacy content to a new way of structuring and managing information.

via DCLnews Blog.

Sign up links for all threes sessions are on the DCLnews Blog.

The session titles are:

  • Session 1: “Get Ready… Get Set”
  • Session 2: “Now Go”
  • Session 3: “Next, Grow”

About DCL

Since its founding in 1981, Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL) remained faithful to its guarantee to construct unparalleled electronic document conversion services based on the rich legacy of superior customization and exceptional quality.

About Dr. JoAnn Hackos

Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices.

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2011 in Review and Trends to Watch in 2012

Year in ReviewPaula J. Hane, Information Today’s NewsBreaks Editor, recently published a year in review article focused on the upheavals in the publishing and library worlds:

Severe weather, natural disasters, the killing of Osama bin Laden, political uprisings, budget crises, celebrity scandals, hot high-tech toys, the death of Steve Jobs, and the U.S. troops leaving Iraq—what will you remember from 2011? Techies will no doubt focus on the iPad 2, iPhone 4S, the Kindle Fire, and the rest of the new Kindle family, and all the new apps for smartphones. Folks in the information industry will likely remember 2011 as one of adapting new technologies and testing viable business models for the new emerging information landscape. Librarians will likely remember it as a year of intense pressure to squeeze more e-resources and services from their (shrinking) budgets.

She continues with a recounting of the topics that were the in the forefront for 2011 including Mobile and tablet computing, cloud computing, Etextbooks, Geolocation, Discovery layers (Summon, EBSCO EDS, OCLC WorldCat Local, Ex Libris Primo), and Semantic search.

In 2012, Paula expects focus to be on even more privacy issues, more growth of tablet usage with a showdown between iPad 3 and Kindle Fire 2, the wider adoption of Touch interfaces, more widespread adoption of cloud computing technologies, and further adoption of EPUB 3.

She also shared some reviews and projections from Bing, Google, PaidContent, ReadWriteWeb, IDC, and Stephen Abram.

Read the full article at Review of 2011 and
Trends Watch 2012
by Paula J. Hane
(Posted On January 5, 2012)

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ACRL releases 2010 Academic Library Trends and Statistics

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has announced the publication of “2010 Academic Library Trends and Statistics“, their latest annual publication that describes the collections, staffing, expenditures and service activities of academic libraries. The three-volume set includes associate of arts institutions, master’s colleges and universities/baccalaureate colleges and research/doctoral-granting institutions.

The 2010 survey includes data from 1,514 academic libraries in six major categories:

  • Collections (including volumes, serials, multimedia)
  • Expenditures (library materials, wages and salaries, other operating)
  • Electronic Resources (including expenditures, collections, services, usage)
  • Personnel and Public Services (staff and services)
  • Ph.D.s Granted, Faculty, Student Enrollment
  • Faculty Rank, Status and Tenure for Librarians

The 2010 data show that the median unit cost of monographs increased slightly over 2009 for all types of academic libraries, while salary and wages expenditures as a percentage of total library expenditures remained unchanged for baccalaureate and comprehensive institutions, slightly decreased for doctoral institutions and increased almost 3 percent for associate degree-granting institutions.

Serial expenditures as a percentage of total library materials expenditures increased for all schools except doctoral degree-granting institutions. The percentage of student assistant staff as a percentage of total staff increased over 2009, ranging from a low of 20 increase at associate degree-granting institutions to a high of 32.14 percent at baccalaureate institutions.

The 3-volume set and individual volumes are available for purchase at the ACRL Store.

 

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NFAIS: The Eroding Subscription Model Event

Books and GlobeOn November 10, 2011 NFAIS held an event titled The Eroding of the Subscription Model and Emerging Alternatives:

In the current economic climate libraries have limited purchasing power. Academic budgets are declining while the need for access to digital information is increasing on today’s wired campuses.

As a result, innovative librarians are seeking alternative methods to access and acquire the content required by their faculty, students, and researchers. Is resource sharing the answer? Will purchase on demand work for books and journals? Is the subscription model no longer viable – even for scholarly materials? This workshop will take a look at what new business models are emerging, their success, and what the future holds for the subscription model in the distribution of scholarly and scientific information.

The event covered the following topics:

  • An Overview of the Current Landscape – Dan Tonkery
  • An Overview of Library Budgets: The ACRL Environmental Scan – Lisa Hinchliffe
  • Erosion of the Subscription Model: the Librarian’s Perspective – Betsy Appleton and Ann Okerson
  • Erosion of the Subscription Model: the Publisher’s Perspective – Linda Beebe, M. Scott Dineen, and Amy Pedersen
  • Emerging Alternatives to Subscriptions – Jason E. Phillips and Rebecca Seger

If you missed this event  you can read the summary of each session online and NFAIS has made the slides available as well at NFAIS — The Eroding Subscription Model.

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TEMIS and HighWire Press Join Up to Semantically Enrich Content

HighWire Press, an industry leader in high quality hosting and web publishing for scholarly publishers worldwide and TEMIS, a Semantic Content Enrichment solution provider for the Enterprise has announced they have entered into a strategic technology and business partnership. HighWire will integrate the full suite of Luxid® software within its ePublishing Platform. This will allow for automated content annotation, enrichment and linking for its existing customers.

…while Luxid® can effectively tag content using taxonomies, it also performs advanced semantic analysis to identify the new discoveries happening on the cutting edge of research, those that our publishers value the most. — John Sack, Founding Director, Highwire Press

Users have become much more sophisticated in their use of online information and are on the lookout for easier and more efficient ways of locating the information they need most. Publishers are recognizing the need to make their content more findable as part of any efforts to improve customer satisfaction. Semantic content enrichment has become a strategic means to help both consumers and publishers make better use of information.

HighWire’s Founding Director, John Sack says “This new partnership allows us to increase discoverability inside the platform with richer metadata and outside the platform by connecting to the semantic web. The broad discipline coverage and the complete suite of customization tools offered by Luxid(R) give HighWire’s publishers the opportunity to access the full scope of the industry’s most advanced semantic toolset. Also, while Luxid(R) can effectively tag content using taxonomies, it also performs advanced semantic analysis to identify the new discoveries happening on the cutting edge of research, those that our publishers value the most.”

Managing Director, Tom Rump continued, “Luxid® marries well with our new tools for rapid product presentation and content aggregation. They’ll enable publishers using HighWire’s open platform to quickly develop new products and deliver them to market, whether on the web or mobile. It allows us to advance the intellectual and commercial interests of scholarly publishers, by having content reach its full potential and its full audience.”

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Discovery and Monetization: Two Important Challenges Facing eBook Publishers

Written by Dan Tonkery for
Unlimited Priorities and DCLnews Blog

The publishing industry’s shift from print to e-formats has been growing rapidly. eBooks are the fastest growing segment of the publishing industry. In 2010 eBooks represented over 8% of the trade book sales in the United States. The growing number of devices further fuels the growth rate. By the end of 2011 there will be an estimated 21 million eReaders installed with a double digit growth in eReaders expected in 2012. Sales are forecast to exceed $1 billion dollars.

The growth of eBooks is welcome news to the publishing industry that has been experiencing a decline in book sales and shrinking shelf space as more brick and mortar stores are closing. The big Six publishers are taking full advantage of the eBook opportunity as is Amazon with a range of eBook services.

Given that most publishers are not technology driven organizations, most publishers will have to turn to technology based companies for their digital publishing solutions. Publishers are looking for companies that offer a full range of editorial, composition, and conversion services. In the eBook support area, publishers are looking for high quality, cost effective delivery to eReader devices, smart phones, and tablets. The technology company not only has to help prepare the content for the appropriate eReader format, they must also assist with the distribution to Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, and others.

Publishers are rushing to convert their current publications to eBooks and there is also a resurgence of interest in back lists. Several major publishers in the romance field are finding new sales life in their back-lists many of which have been out of print for years. So for companies offering digital publishing solutions there is significant work available in converting back-list or other legacy content into flexible digital formats for republishing in eBook formats.

The silver lining in the rapidly growing eBook market is the opportunity for digital publishing companies to support the publishing community by converting books, journals, catalogs, newspapers, microform, and newsletters to e-content. The entire publishing community from trade publishers, university presses, associations, government organizations, and even the STM presses all need a level of technical support during this exciting time. The traditional players in this market need to market their services and be aggressive in selling their services. With any new opportunity, the marketplace will see new host of players offering services. Such is the case with eBook services. The traditional technology partner companies in this marketplace need to insure that they bring their A game as the new companies entering the publishing market are often venture backed run by seasoned Silicon Valley trained entrepreneurs. Supporting eBook projects is becoming a very competitive market.

Given a steady supply of good content, a stable growing eReader market in place and a market that is rapidly expanding, what is missing in the eBook world? What was worrying publishers at the recent Book Expo in New York City? One of the themes I heard over and over was the issue of “discovery”. Publishers are worried that consumers are not going to be able to find newly published book as the traditional marketing and sales channels are not as useful in the digital age. While the Big 6 Publishers still have large marketing campaigns to promote a few of their best sellers, many other publishers as well as the self-publishing authors are left without an easy solution.

To solve this problem there is an effort underway to develop the next best book discovery tool which allows publishers to suggest unfamiliar content to consumers. There are over 20 start-up companies including BookTour funded by Amazon that are developing software solutions and tools to help authors with book promotion. Three books publishers Hachette, Penguin, Simon & Schuster have teamed up to start the Bookish Reading Group as an editorially independent platform to help with discovery and sales.

The New York Times recently added an eBook best seller list. Sales of eBooks are predicated to hit $1 billion dollars this year. There is a race to build a better discovery tool. Discoverreads (recently purchased by Goodreads and What Should I Read Next? are relying on engineering. Other services such as BookGlutton and Copia are creating a social experience.

aNobii is another new electronic book discovery and retail service owned by publishers and a retailer. The service is a socially-driven retail platform that aims to give publishers more consumer data than provided by digital sellers. The one thing that Amazon and Apple don’t do is help you decide what to read next. Although I would have to say that Amazon does a reasonable job of telling you what people have bought similar to the book you just purchased. So there is an algorithm that looks and compares purchases and brings other suitable candidates for the consumer to consider. Also Amazon offers book reviews which are helpful even if you don’t know the reviewer.

Readers buy books based on four reasons according to Kevin Smoker, the co-founder of BookTour; familiarity with the author; interest in the subject; a recommendation from a trusted source; or hearing about it in the media. Just take a look at the influence of Oprah and her Book Club. A recommendation of any book on her show sent book sales into the millions.

Interest in a subject or familiarity with an author certainly can help sell books on the web. For example, Amanda Hocking, a 26 year old new paranormal romance author is now selling 10,000 books a day and has just signed a four book deal with St. Martin’s Press. Less than two years ago she was a totally unknown self-published author who created a fan base with her paranormal romance genre.

The publishing industry is looking for the next app that will offer a sophisticated tool which will know the reader’s tastes and can make recommendations for your next reading pleasure much like Pandora does with music.

The digital publishing technology companies can help with discovery by helping to engineer and provide book tagging data for search engines to find and utilize. Already most companies are working to capture metadata including titles, chapter titles, authors, editors, volume, issues, page numbers, abstracts, and keywords. Capturing full and complete metadata is an important step in facilitating discovery.

The other challenge facing publishers and authors is finding the proper monetizing strategy. There are continuing debates and corporate fights over setting the price for eBooks. From the beginning, Amazon demanded and received a $9.99 price on all eBooks and forced publishers to accept a much lower list price for their eBooks than print. This pricing strategy went a long way to seed the eBook market and set the consumers expectation for low pricing for eBooks. Then along came Apple with their iBookstore and they set the publishing market on their ear with an agency model which in the end all the Big 6 publishers have endorsed. So eBook prices have increased. Under the agency model the publisher sets the price and Apple takes their 30% cut. Publishers have been more realistic in setting their eBook prices. Amazon has followed suit and now eBooks are priced higher and while publishers are happier with the arrangement, consumers are still smarting about the pricing models.

Self-publishing authors now have a number of viable choices. One of the more popular sites for self-publishing authors is Smashwords where they work with authors to produce eBooks and handle much of the background work and the author keeps about 80% of the retail price. Many self-publishing authors sell their eBooks at a much lower price than the traditional publishers. Smashwords titles are often sold at $2.99 or less. The 10 bestselling Amanda Hocking’s titles are all at $2.99 or less with many at .99 cents. It is amazing that even at that price she was able to sell over $2 million dollars’ worth of books on Amazon.

What is clear is we are in the early days of finding a proper monetizing strategy for trade books. The pressure is on publishers to price eBooks at a level that consumers will support. There is significant revenue in the eBook sales channel but much of the traditional costs will have to be reduced. The Big 6 publishers are facing a tough time ahead with the high overheads.

The STM and professional community is not under as much price pressure as trade books but it is clear that a different monetizing strategy is also needed here. The traditional monograph book is no longer only going to be sold as a unit. Publishers need to work out a pricing strategy that will enable a user to buy the full book, a chapter, a paragraph, a chart, a photograph or any other unit that can be supported. The same technical support is required for a journal or magazine subscription. There is an important role for the digital publishing solutions companies to fulfill.

The technology needs to be in place to support the acquisition of an issue, article, table of contents, or subunit of the journal. An annual subscription to the journal may not continue to be a unit of choice for libraries. I expect the user community to begin buying information in subunits and the technology needs to be in place to support it. Already the major hosting services allow organizations to buy information by the download via a token or some other mechanism. I expect that this trend will be expanded. We need the systems in place to allow users to acquire information in any number of units or subunits.

Publishing is a changing industry and the industry will need the best technical support that they can afford. Companies offering digital publishing solutions are well placed to assist with the changes and take a leadership role in supporting the new user world.

About the Author

Dan Tonkery is president of Content Strategies as well as a contributor to Unlimited Priorities. He has served as founder and president of a number of library services companies and has worked nearly forty years building information products.

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The Changing Content Landscape in Publishing

Written for Unlimited Priorities and DCLnews Blog.

On May 23-24 many of us in the publishing industry will be attending the BookExpo America 2011 in New York City at the Javits Center for another annual coming together of who’s who in publishing. The exhibit halls will be filled with thousands of industry professionals and people who are there just because they love books. Depending on the hall you visit and the booths you stop by, you will come away with a few different feelings about the book publishing industry. Last year I spent two full days at the exhibits and the air was filled with the love of printed books. Publisher after publisher showed no indication that the world was changing or if it was, no one was admitting that the traditional book is under any pressure from technology.

Electronic content is one of the most used applications; the growth rate is compounding each month.

Yet there was a small group of Digital Book exhibitors all banded together in a small area of the Javits Center, which were showing the tools of the future. And if this group is successful in bringing new technology and opportunities to publishing, then the future of the printed book will certainly take on a very different look. Some are even questioning the future of the printed book!

In a very short period of time, the technology companies led by Apple are flooding the market with tools to feed users with eBooks. Apple has sold over 15 million iPads and the iPad 2 sold over 500,000 units the first weekend it was available. Samsung has the Galaxy Tab, Motorola the Xoom, Blackberry the Playbook, Toshiba has a Honeycomb-based tablet in the works, and don’t forget the mainstay eReaders from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The consumer market is almost replacing the laptop with the tablet computer and consumers around the world are finding all sorts of applications for their new equipment. Electronic content is one of the most used applications and the growth rate is compounding each month.

How is the landscape of traditional publishing changing? The North American Big Six publishers…are all experiencing a continuing decline in sales of trade books at the brick and mortar stores.

The Kindles from Amazon have been accepted by users as their eBook reader of choice. Amazon sold over 7 million Kindles in 2010 and is on track to sell over 35 million by 2012. Amazon reports that its eBook sales are outpacing print sales in the hardcover area at 180 to 100 and in the paperback area 115 to 100. Apple has over 2500 publishers in their iBookstore and has delivered over 100 million eBook downloads. If the eBook readers were not enough to make an impact on print book sales, consider that smartphones can also be used to read content; the iPhone with its 100 million handsets is a major player in the e-content market as well. Other smartphone manufacturers are also enjoying commanding sales growth.

With this type of infrastructure in place it is not so surprising to find a major impact on traditional book publishing. So what is happening out in the market place? How is the landscape of traditional publishing changing? The North American Big Six publishers including Random House, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan are all experiencing a continuing decline in sales of trade books at the brick and mortar stores. Everyone knows about the loss of Borders stores and the continuing trend of the loss of shelf-space. The NA Big Six had a significant advantage over everyone else in that they were able to put books on shelves. They have been distribution experts followed by strong marketing and editing. Their power is now on the wane as the distribution function in the eBook age is of less value.

Another important function up in the air since the market is now a global is the negotiation of territorial and language rights. Selling rights to publish best sellers in other countries has been a big part of the annual Frankfurt Bookfair. Imagine the impact to the traditional way of doing business when an eBook can be delivered around the globe with the push of a key on a keyboard. No inventory issues, no freight, no customs clearance, and no delay. You want the item, you buy it, and it is immediately available on your tablet.

No inventory issues, no freight, no customs clearance, and no delay. You want the item, you buy it, and it is immediately available on your tablet.

If the NA Big Six don’t look out they are soon going to find a new Big Six taking over their role. Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Ingram and Overdrive could just as easily perform all or most of the functions that the NA Big Six offer. Each of the companies above can deliver an eBook to a user anywhere in the world. They have eBookstores from direct relationships with publishers and have the customer services and maintain help desks that connect the users to their platforms.

Already Amazon, Apple, and Google have demonstrated their power in the marketplace. These three companies have changed the publishing landscape with their impact on pricing and setting terms and conditions. Apple with their introduction of the Agency sales model tore down years of book selling with the destruction of the wholesale model. Amazon exercised their strength on setting the prices for the original eBooks. All of these changes in the marketplace are being watched by a growing number of companies that are looking to take advantage of the new opportunities in publishing.

The timing is right for companies outside of our industry to come in and shake up what has been an old boys’ club.

The timing is right for companies outside of our industry to come in and shake up what has been an old boys’ club. Venture backed companies are betting that using modern tools and techniques, they can have an impact on the future of book publishing. There has been a host of high-quality self-publishing companies that have sprouted up offering a full range of publishing services. One company in particular has caught my attention: Smashwords, the brain child of Mark Coker a successful entrepreneur. They offer a full service operation that can get your eBook published in any platform and the author keeps 85% of the price instead of standard 25% royalty. Other self-publishing companies are Scribd, Author Solutions, and Amazon’s CreatSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing group that is offering potential authors a full publishing solution. These are just the first of many companies that are going to be supporting authors bypassing the traditional mainstream publishers.

While trade eBooks are perhaps the best selling segment of the marketplace, it is interesting to note the changing landscape in textbook publishing. Textbook publishing is on its way to having an extreme makeover. Some industry experts that are predicting that within 5-7 years the digital textbook will reach its tipping point and that eTextbooks will become the dominant format. The popularity of the iPad and the other tablets as well as the adoption of EPUB3, OER, and Open textbooks will help drive this shift to eTextbooks. Unlike trade books where the traditional publishers are losing market share, it is the major textbook publishers such as McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Wiley and others that are driving this market. The textbook companies have invested in new companies such as Inkling to support their business objectives. Another group supported by the publishers is CourseSmart.

For years, traditional textbook publishers have lost revenue to the sale of used textbooks. Textbooks have been difficult to update as the process of editing and reprinting anything less than five years old has been expensive. Electronic textbooks can be updated every year with new data added. There is hope by many students that the e-textbook can be priced at a lower price, offer a range of new features such as online editing, cut and paste, and note-taking support. Publishers will be able to produce eTextbooks at a lower unit cost and be able to tailor-make editions for different markets.

No discussion about the changing landscape in publishing is complete without the mention of the opportunity to truly create new works. Publishers are going to begin creating highly-accessible interactive content. There are a wide range of devices such as the iPad and the smartphone where enhanced content can be viewed and consumed. There is a need for software companies to support the publishing industry in the conversion and creation of multimedia e-products. Books, journals, newspapers, and magazines all are fertile ground for technology companies to assist publishers in the production of their electronic products. There is an active and growing market out there for companies to assist in building new products or converting old content to the appropriate format. Make sure your technical staff is ready for HTML5 and EPUB3.

Nearly every publisher that I visit or work with is faced with the same predicament. Most publishers have plenty of content sitting around in large backlists, an active publishing program that they want to convert over to eBooks, or new ideas for interactive products. What I don’t see is a level of technical expertise within the publishing houses. Every publisher from Random House, to the New York Times, to the University Presses needs help in achieving their digital potential. This missing skill is a fact that the venture community has recognized and we are seeing many start-up companies getting into the market to support this critical need.

If your company is offering technical support to the publishing community be sure that you are offering the latest and greatest software solution. Be on the lookout for new startups that are hitting the market such as Vook, a new media company that is working on video integration with eBooks. The publishing industry is moving rapidly to transition to the new market opportunity provided by the devices supporting e-reading. No one is standing still. The market, the technology, and the opportunities are moving rapidly.

See you at BEA 2011. Have a good show!

About the Author

Dan Tonkery is president of Content Strategies as well as a contributor to Unlimited Priorities. He has served as founder and president of a number of library services companies and has worked nearly forty years building information products.

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Conference Buzz: Record Attendance at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change for Publishing

Written for Unlimited Priorities and DCLnews Blog.

Tools of Change (TOC) for Publishing

Tools of ChangeAbout 1,400 attendees attended O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change (TOC) for Publishing Conference in New York, February 14-16. From its inception five years ago, when attendance was 400, TOC has grown every year, and the 2011 conference was the largest ever. It’s easy to see why; TOC continues to focus on the rapid changes occurring in the publishing industry, attracts leading speakers, and provides a forum for vendors to exhibit their latest products. It has become one of the industry’s leading events.

Is the world ready for e-books?

Author and Wolfram Research co-founder Theodore Gray wondered if the world was finally ready for e-books. He noted that it is unsatisfying to him to need to resort to print to make any money on a book and predicted that in the future, simple static textbooks will be produced as open source projects because nobody will want to pay for them, either in print or electronic form. Users will, however, pay for enrichment and interactivity, and now that technology to add such capabilities to e-books is available, the world is ready for them.

The pace of change is accelerating.

David “Skip” Pritchard, President and CEO of Ingram Content Group, followed Gray’s theme and emphasized that we are in a time of rapid change in the publishing industry, and the pace of change is accelerating–a point made by several additional speakers as well. Pritchard urged attendees not to allow company history to get in the way of adapting their organizations to today’s environment. Change is not always obvious to us; skill sets and talent are often hidden in an organization. He also noted that everything will not change; authors will continue to have status, and curation will still be needed.

If all information is free, who will pay authors?

Margaret Atwood, author of numerous poems and books, struck a note for authors, asking if the future is on the Internet, and all information is free, who will pay authors? Have we stopped to think about whether today’s changes are really good or not? She advised the publishing industry to never forget its primary source. Authors are a primary source because everything in the industry depends on them. And in an age of “remote” and “virtual”, there is still a craving for “real” and “authentic”.

We must not speak of digital content as a secondary use.

Brian O’Leary, founder and principal of Magellan Media, gave an impressive talk on the damage that containers (i.e. books, magazines, and newspapers) used to transmit information have done to the present-day industry. Containers are an option, not a starting point. They limit how we think about our audiences and how they will find our content. Our world today is one of content and browsers, and a new breed of born-digital competitors is starting with context and thus meeting the challenge of being relevant to audiences who instinctively turn to digital content. We must not speak of digital content as a secondary use. Publishers are increasingly in the content solution business, where the future is in giving readers access to content-rich products. Starting with context requires publishers to make a fundamental change in their work-flow, and if they make the leap, remarkable opportunities are available.

Six trends currently affecting the publishing industry.

Kevin Kelly’s presentation opened the concluding day of the conference, and he noted that his latest book, What Technology Wants (Viking/Penguin, 2010), is the last printed book he will write. All his future works will be in digital form. Kelly, the former Executive Editor of Wired magazine, discussed six trends currently affecting the publishing industry:

  • Screening. We are moving from being people of the book to people of the screen, and we have not yet begun to see the extent that screens will permeate our culture. Every flat surface is a potential screen site.
  • Interacting. We interact with not only our fingertips, but also with gestures (as with smart phones, for example) and even our whole body. Reading will be affected by this trend and will expand to a bodily conversation and also to a nonlinear process; for example, we now have alternate endings for some books.
  • Sharing. Reading is becoming much more social. We read socially and must learn to write socially. Everything increases in value by being shared.
  • Accessing. We gain much more value by accessing information rather than owning it.
  • Flowing. Files flow into pages which flow into streams. Streams go everywhere, are never finished, and are constantly in flux. Books will operate in the same environment.
  • Generating (not copying). The Internet is the world’s largest copying machine, but future value will be in products which must be generated in context and cannot be copied. There is no better time for readers than now, but publishers are not ready for the idea that books will sell for 99 cents.

The largest platform in the world is the mobile handset.

Finally, mobile content were not forgotten at TOC. Cheryl Goodman, Director of Publisher Relations at Qualcomm, noted that the largest platform in the world is the mobile handset, but unfortunately most publishers have neither engaged this market nor changed their digital strategies to accommodate it. As a result, advertisers and marketers, not publishers, will determine the future course of the industry. This is an opportunity for publishers to function as a conduit to highly curated content.

There was an enormous lot to assimilate at TOC. Most of the speakers’ presentations, as well as the live streams of the keynote sessions are available on the TOC website, and further summaries appear on my blog. The dates and venue for TOC 2012 will be announced shortly.

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