Laura Leichum: "Lessons from Inside the Digital Silo," for the "E-book Nuts and Bolts" panel at AAUP 2012
Work with Your Strengths0 Quantity has its advantages, but thoughtful placement of key titles can really pay off.0 Look for partnerships that best fit your content and will reach core markets.
Pace Yourself0 You don’t have to sign up with every new vendor that approaches you right away or ever.0 Create a strategy by taking a close look at their sales models, their potential market, metadata & file requirements to see how you can accommodate them.0 Set realistic goals for how many new partnerships your workflow can handle per year.0 Timely delivery of quality metadata and files (as well as updates) is absolutely crucial so don’t compromise your ability to do so by stretching resources too thin.
Input and Feedback from Colleagues0 GUP has a Digital Strategy Group with representatives from each department, meets about once a month to discuss trends, new opportunities, and potential workflow issues.0 Check in regularly with other departments that might feel side-effects of increased and/or varied nature of digital publishing activity.
Not Just Pushing a Button0 Digital Asset Management0 Metadata Management0 Vendor Management
Managing Frontlist Titles0 Which titles will have ebook binds?0 Who will make title selection for various vendors?0 How will ebook ISBNs be assigned?0 Who will make sure ebook vendors receive pre-pub metadata?0 When does an ebook become “active”?0 And how can you get closer to simultaneous release of print and ebook formats?0 New Editions—is an ebook ever out of print?
Managing Frontlist Titles0 Wait a minute, where did that dirty metadata come from? Or who will check to ensure that titles have gone live and that metadata is correct?0 Ongoing metadata maintenance—for most vendors, updates such as price changes and title removal are still done via a manual process.0 What are the Pros of supplying ePub files?0 The Future—XML-first workflow for textbooks and reference books, compositors supplying web-ready PDFS and ePub?
Digitizing the Backlist0 Who will verify e-rights or procure them?0 Accurate title inventories are essential—back in those early days of rabid content acquisition, selected backlist titles were digitized by various vendors.0 Who will make the title selection and based on what criteria?0 Who will create the digitization budget (time and money)?0 Challenges of scanning/converting files (foreign languages, tables & figures, quality control)0 The Future—steadily chip away at backlist and one fine day all viable backlist titles will be digitized and this won’t be an issue anymore, or at least until they invent a new file format that replaces ePub
A Case Study: Our First “Chunking”0 AcademicPub—hosts an online content library and offers a service which allows professors to create custom course materials that are available in print and ebook formats.0 How to make title selection?0 How to set chapter pricing? What to do about frontmatter/backmatter or various scholarly apparatus?0 Are the e-rights completely clear especially for deep backlist titles?0 How to supply chapter-level metadata?0 Importance of keywords for search results in content library.0 New sales model presented an opportunity to discover how we might improve our metadata as well as test out a new revenue stream.
Sales Reporting & Analysis0 Ebook sales revenue, e-access revenue, subscription revenue, short-term loan revenue, chapter sales revenue—I had to create a spreadsheet just to keep track of all of these spreadsheets!0 How will all of this revenue be recorded and how will royalty payments be handled?0 Vendor expansion into other countries can present more challenges regarding pricing, sales data, and payments.0 To make ebook revenue more tangible and visible within the press, both monthly and quarterly ebook sales reports are e- mailed to entire staff.0 The Future—Currently, sales projections are made vendor-by- vendor, but looking at how to make title-by-title sales projections.
0 At exhibits, staff member has list of which titles are available in ebook format and a sign using “e” logo and tagline will be present0 Have started using Ebooks.com Digital Comps to offer ebook review and exam copies0 The Future—special ebook pricing promotions? Bundling? Selling ebooks via our website?
Are you Stuck in the Digital Silo?0 This seems like a question the whole publishing industry should currently be asking itself.0 Is having a single department or person in charge of all things digital really a sustainable model?0 Siloing may seem inevitable (especially at a small press), but there are ways you can work at breaking down the silo.