How To Select A Digital E Publisher Supplier

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With so many professional ePublishing suppliers to choose from, how do you know which one to select? We’ve pubilshed a free whitepaper that highlights the eight key questions you need to ask to give you a clear indication of the size, scope and experience of your prospective supplier, as well as quality of their technology.

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How To Select A Digital E Publisher Supplier

  1. 1. How to Select an ePublishing Supplier Robert Elding Marketing Director YUDU Media
  2. 2. How to Select an ePublishing Supplier Introduction According to the Book Industry Study Group (BISG), every fifth reader in the US stopped buying paper books in 2009 and switched entirely to digital editions, otherwise known as eBooks (or e-books). This is a significant development, from an authoritative source, which shows conclusively that digital editions are now embedded in mainstream usage. 1
  3. 3. With 32% of survey respondents viewing digital editions on Amazon’s Kindle eReader alone, the proliferation of digital editions is set to grow considerably with the launch of Apple’s iPad which many industry insiders expect to do for publishing what the iPod did for music & the iPhone for telecoms. The headroom for market expansion in digital editions is huge – despite 20% of US consumers not buying paper books in 2009, the other 80% ‘rarely’ purchased digital editions – but with the launch of numerous eReaders in 2010 the growth in digital editions is set to skyrocket and fully cement itself into mainstream culture. However, with numerous software specialists offering digital edition technology, one of the major problems confronting publishers is how best to choose the supplier most suited for their requirements? This whitepaper aims to dispel a few myths and provide a guide as to how best to choose an e-publishing supplier and partner. 2
  4. 4. In choosing an e-publishing supplier it is important to ask eight key questions which will give you a clear indication of the size, scope & experience of your prospective partner. By asking these questions you will gain a firm idea of whether the e-publishing supplier has the necessary experience and technology needed to effectively bring your publication to market as a digital edition. 3
  5. 5. 1 Can you easily read and load the software? This is perhaps the most important question to ask, after all, if you don’t like various aspects of the technology solution neither will your customers. Take a PDF of one of your own publications and ask for a preview digital edition that you can test and view. Nearly all e-publishing suppliers will provide a free preview edition for you to sample on your own computer. Test the functionality of the software. Is the interface easy to read? Are the navigation tools easy to understand and operate? Are the page-turning controls fast and smooth? Just as importantly, see how quickly the software loads, how long it takes to appear on the screen but also the load time of each page as you flip through the publication. The longer it takes, the more readers you will lose. Test the closing mechanism behind the solution and see how the solution cooperates with the various other programs you operate on your computer system. Does it interfere? When the Association of Online Publishers looked at these questions, they found that half their survey respondents ‘rated the print version as more satisfying than the (online version) from a point of user-satisfaction’. This is mainly because many e-publishing technologies just aren’t good enough to competently reproduce the offline publication in an online version. Key tip #1: Test the software as if you were an ordinary consumer. What do you like, what don’t you like? Compare different technology side by side. Take notes. Key tip #2: Don’t sacrifice technical performance in a bid to cut costs. The most competent solution in the long term will pay dividends. 4
  6. 6. 2 Has the software solution got longevity? Many e-publishing solutions, particularly from new providers, don’t have the breadth of experience needed to work under all e-publishing conditions. Similarly, many software houses (some of international stature) simply tag-on an e-publishing module which whilst functional has not been stringently tested in the market place. How does this affect you? Let’s say you have an online magazine that goes out to one million customers. What happens if a significant percentage of these customers log on to the publication at the same time? Does the software slow down or even crash? Unless the e-publishing supplier has significant server capability worldwide (as well as considerable back up servers) then problems will occur sooner if not later. It is vitally important that you find an e-publishing solution that has been tried and tested in a range of market conditions, both home and abroad. As a footnote, don’t forget that in a global recession some companies will go out of business. Therefore do make sure the e-publishing provider is not hamstrung with debt or is a fledgling venture capitalist outfit with a low price/high volume strategy. Key tip #3: Make sure that your e-publishing supplier has had its solution tested across a variety of different market situations. Key tip #4: Research whether your e-publishing supplier has strong financial underpinnings and has stood the test of time. 5
  7. 7. 3 Can you customize the e-publishing solution? This is a critical question to ask if your e-publishing needs are more than the standard ‘upload your PDF’ online. Many e-publishing solutions are straight forward ‘off-the-shelf’ packages which publishers have to fit into rather than the other way around. Customizable solutions, by contrast, allow you and your team to come up with creative ideas and applications (for example, embedded video, podcasts, coloured backgrounds and plenty of space for your own brand identity etc) that give your publication a unique appearance and feel. For brand owners - especially those with strict brand design guidelines - the necessity to have a customizable e-publishing solution is obvious. YUDU, with its open API lets publishers build and integrate their own plugins giving flexibility and a huge range of customizable options / optional features such as an email collection tool or Digital Rights Management tool. Key tip #5: Ensure your e-publishing solution is fully customizable so your creativity is allowed to shine. 6
  8. 8. 4 Does the supplier have a respectable client list? The better, more established e-publishing suppliers will have a client list containing some of the world’s top publishers and international brands. If the supplier can demonstrate a list of clients made up of the above then you can rest assured that the e-publishing solution will be of a very high standard. Crucially it will also confirm that the e-publishing solution can take high volumes of traffic and won’t cave under pressure. It’s worth remembering that large companies have strict procurement procedures and if an e-publishing solution has made it through the various tendering processes and legalities, it will no doubt be of a high standard. Key tip #6: Make certain that your e-publishing supplier has a strong, well established client list. 5 Does the supplier have phone-based support? Email-only support can be slow and frustrating and in a commercial environment is simply not suitable by itself. Indeed for companies, technical glitches, system failures or any associated e-publishing problems need to be sorted out immediately. Phone-based support is therefore essential in addition to email and online live chat support. Phone-based support normally means that the e-publishing supplier places a high value on customer satisfaction, rather than just providing a software solution. Key tip #7: Make sure your e-publishing provider has quick, phone based technical & general customer support. 7
  9. 9. 6 Does the supplier operate both at home & internationally? It is important that your e-publishing provider has a good knowledge of local country conditions. Especially broadband capabilities, band-width limits and other technicalities that are important to ensure seamless e-publishing. If your e-publishing needs are only one country-specific, the requirement to have an international e-publishing supplier might not seem important. However, international e-publishing suppliers have both a broader depth of experience and will also have an international server capacity – important if power outages or user volumes crash the e-publishing system in your own country which rarely happens but occasionally can. The best, most established e-publishing suppliers who operate internationally will also allow you to take full advantage of the vast numbers of people accessing the internet worldwide, giving you true global reach for your publications. Key tip #8: Ensure your e-publishing supplier operates internationally and has global reach as well as a decent knowledge of local conditions. 8
  10. 10. 7 Does the e-publishing supplier give the ability to monetize your digital editions? Many publishers distribute digital editions for paid-for subscribers only, however this tactic is only realistic for brands with well-known publications and established demand. For most other publishers, especially medium and smaller publishers and companies, monetizing digital editions is one of the hardest and most challenging dilemmas they will face. Cutting edge e-publishing suppliers like YUDU Media will offer two solutions: A They will provide an online publication store where consumers can purchase one-off and multi-titles of the same publication. B They give the option to stream ads straight into a digital edition from third party ad networks, circumventing the need for a salesperson or sales team. This solution allows publishers to monetise their digital editions for little or no effort and minimal outlay. Publishers simply earn a commission from the ad network for each advertisement run in their digital edition(s). Key tip #9: Make sure your e-publishing provider provides a route to market and a technical solution to monetise your content. 9
  11. 11. Has the e-publishing supplier won awards? 8 Whilst awards in their own right are not a guarantee of quality, an e-publishing supplier that can showcase a string of awards in their field can lay claim to having a solution that is highly regarded. Typically these awards will be granted by industry peers giving you the confidence that the e-publishing solution has gained plaudits across various industry sectors. If these awards are won over a number of years you can also assume that the e-publishing provider places high stock on continually updating and improving its solution to keep ahead of competitors. Key tip #10: A series of industry awards should give you the confidence that an e-publishing solution is well regarded by its industry peers. 10
  12. 12. Conclusion Electronic publishing has now entered the mainstream, not least because as the Book Industry Study Group found digital editions offer affordability and immediacy but they also offer significant environmental advantages. However, with the launch of Apple’s iPad, electronic publishing could soon overtake the printed medium ushering in a new era not seen since Gutenberg launched his first printing press in 1450. For publishers looking to branch into e-publishing it is therefore essential that they select their e-publishing technology partner wisely. Specifically they need to put their trust in well established providers who can deliver a cutting edge solution, internationally, with strong customer support as well as demonstrating a long list of satisfied clients and a string of awards. Follow the above tips and you won’t go far wrong. To try YUDU Pro technology for free, request a free preview or click here to request a pricing brochure. Robert Elding Marketing Director YUDU Media www.yudupro.com email: info@yudu.com UK Tel: (+44) 870 760 9258 US Tel: 1-888-FOR-YUDU (367-9838) 11

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