Linda Bennett Gold Leaf [email_address] Gold Leaf
<ul><li>Issues for publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Technological issues </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery methods </li></ul><ul><li>...
Issues for publishers <ul><li>Migration from print to ‘e’ </li></ul><ul><li>Channels of distribution: </li></ul><ul><ul><l...
Technological issues <ul><li>E-book formats: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ePUB </li></ul></ul><ul>...
Delivery methods <ul><li>PAID FOR: </li></ul><ul><li>PCs onsite, real time </li></ul><ul><li>PCs remote access, real time ...
Pricing models <ul><li>Institutional Licensing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscription single year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>S...
‘ Content’ <ul><li>Books and journals on the same platform </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-publisher options: CourseSmart, Vitalbo...
Large Directives and Projects <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>E-books for the reading impaired </li></ul><ul><li>ARROW an...
Issues for Librarians <ul><li>How far, how fast? </li></ul><ul><li>Working with publishers and aggregators to address: </l...
Things to look out for <ul><li>The search engines – all of the big ones </li></ul><ul><li>New pricing models based on the ...
Linda Bennett Gold Leaf [email_address] Gold Leaf
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E-Books: The Strategic Landscape


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Presentation prepared by Linda Bennett of Gold Leaf for the 9th Annual E-Books Conference. Digital Futures: adapting to new e-environments; held at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 22nd October 2009.

Presentation regarding the issues that there are for publishers and librarians in adapting to an increasingly e-environment.

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  • This is the shape that the presentation will take
  • I thought that since this is a review of the strategic landscape of e-books, it would be pertinent to start with describing some of the issues that are confronting publishers as they develop their e-book offers. Most critical among these is the migration from print to electronic, and how they manage it. This raises all sorts of issues for them, relating not only to pricing (a concern obviously also of considerable interest to librarians), but also how they can shape and manage their future role in the information industry. Librarians are also seeing their roles shift, as we shall consider later, and face some of the same problems as publishers as their world changes. Channels of distribution, which in the world of print were just the functional means of getting a book from the publisher’s warehouse and into the hands of the end-user, have with e-books taken on a political hue. Publishers have to decide whether or not to work with aggregators, and which ones if they choose to do so; whether to sell through retailers – conventional ones such as Waterstone’s or ‘e-tailers’ such as Amazon; whether or not they want to sell direct from their own websites; and whether or not to take advantage of the sales opportunities offered by Google and other search engines. In deciding these things, they have to weigh up whether the benefits which they gain now will compensate for the possible long term effect of allowing third parties to gobble up the supply chain. Territoriality is another issue: logically speaking, buying and selling via the internet allows anyone anywhere to buy the same product. Legally speaking, publishers and authors still sell rights separately for different geographical areas. (This situation is even more complex for ‘trade’ publishers, because high-profile authors like J.K. Rowling sometimes sell different territorial rights to different publishing houses.) As librarians, you will almost certainly have tried to order an e-book through an aggregator, only to be told, annoyingly from your point of view, that it is not available in the UK. Publishers also have a duty, both to their authors and to their own shareholders, to protect intellectual property. The most common way of doing this with e-books is to safeguard them with a ‘DRM wraparound’ – i.e., a proprietary piece of software that prevents copying or file-sharing. However, DRM [which stands for ‘Digital Rights Management’] is itself controversial. Librarians often don’t like it because it imposes page-by-page viewing on the reader, and limits printing and download capabilities. In the growing retail industry, consumers object that they can’t buy a single copy of the e-book and then view it on both their PC and hand-held reader. So publishers are experimenting with other methods: digital watermarking, for example (the e-book equivalent of ‘stolen from Claridge’s Hotel’) or introducing a ‘penny plain’ version of the e-book entirely free of charge. Cost structures present another challenge. Most e-books so far have been digitised versions of publications already produced in print; but this is changing. ‘Born digital’ publications are becoming more commonplace. At present, the concept of the born-digital book is still not very far removed from what is offered by the traditional print book. But this is changing, too, and as publishers explore the possibilities offered by digital technology, they also have to understand not only how their costs structures will change, but also what prices the market will bear. There is no point in designing Concorde if most customers are only prepared to pay for Ryan Air. The royalties that authors receive for e-books have been a subject of controversy for several years. Only last week the Society of Authors fanned the flames again by suggesting that authors should receive a significantly larger royalty than for print. Authors are advised to demand at least 25% of the cover price, and up to 50% in some cases (as opposed to the average 10% – 12.5% they receive for print). Unfortunately, this shows a lack of understanding of the relative costs of producing a print and an e-book – the paper and board costs of a print book usually represent less than 10% of the cover price – which publishers are not yet in a good position to explain, because, as I have said, they do not fully understand themselves. Making e-books visible is a problem with which librarians can sympathise and at the same time feel exasperated about. Publishers are not the only culprits here; the bibliographical agencies have been slow to list e-books. However, publishers have sometimes helped to contribute to the lack of transparency – not to say confusion – by allocating ISBNs to e-books in an incorrect way. An ISBN is a unique identifier for a single tradable published item. This means that an e-book title in four different formats requires four ISBNs – just as a hardback and a paperback version of the same title each require different ISBNs. By definition, therefore, there is no such things as a ‘master-ISBN’ covering all formats, on the one hand; nor is it correct to assign a different ISBN to e-books supplied through different channel partners – separate ones for Waterstone’s and MyiLibrary, for example. Nevertheless, certain publishers have done both of these things. Conversely, publishers are very bad at letting their customers know all the formats in which a title is available in a single place. For this information, librarians have to rely on library suppliers’ ordering systems, such as Coutts’ OASIS and Dawson’s EnterBooks. A further problem is that librarians and publishers use different metadata systems. Publishers use ONIX (or at least in a best-case scenario – not all publishers are ONIX compliant), which is essentially a sales catalogue tool; librarians use MARC 21, which is essentially an information catalogue tool. Initiatives are under way to make ONIX and MARC records interoperable, but the results will probably not be available for some years yet. Finally, there is marketing. E-books have brought with them the possibility of using new marketing technologies, foremost among which is the ‘widget’. This in turn has encouraged publishers to look to social networks to promote books – another area which they have in common with librarians, who are now turning to social networks to promote their services.
  • Although right from the start publishers were aware of the possibilities of XML, and some aggregators – e.g., books24x7 – used the XML format, the overwhelming majority of e-books produced so far have been PDFs. This is because PDFs are cheap, and easily convertible from ‘print PDF’ files already held by the publisher. PDFs are, however, cumbersome and difficult to make fully searchable. On the other hand, XML can be very expensive. A new standard is therefore emerging, called ‘ePub’. This is a fairly simple version of XML. It is likely that ePub will gradually take over from PDF as the standard for e-books supplied to libraries, although some database products may still use html. All of this would be relatively straightforward, if the advent of handheld readers and ‘smart’ mobiles had not introduced a host of new formats to the consumer market. Print on Demand [POD] publishing requires a slightly different kind of file. Librarians will become more acquainted with POD as customised textbooks grow in popularity. Audiobooks require a different standard again – though XML can be used as the building-block for all of these standards if the publisher uses it from scratch when working with the author’s MS. Also of significance to librarians wishing to provide a service to the ‘print challenged’ is the format developed by the DAISY foundation, which is very similar to ePub. Finally, as already mentioned, there are separate formats for the proprietary DRM tools [PDF, Microsoft lit, Mobipocket, etc.]
  • How do librarians want their patrons to be able to use e-books? I would suggest by all of the methods listed here. Each one has its own requirements. PCs onsite, real time is the easiest – you just have to have paid your subscription! Remote access, real time often needs a third-party enabling solution such as ezproxy. Only some publishers and aggregators will allow downloads on to PCs or laptops; and if they are allowed, they may be time-limited if they have been supplied on a subscription basis. I imagine that librarians have not got too involved with e-reader devices and ‘smart’ mobile phones yet – but I am sure you will do! Unfortunately, it will mean more formats to grapple with. You will be more familiar with VLE uploads, and the restrictions about what you can and can’t put on a VLE; and also with the digital coursepacks that you are able to provide under the terms of the CLA digital licence. Both of the latter mean a great deal of time-consuming work for librarians. I would suggest that the parties involved should try to work together to seek greater efficiencies here. Finally, there is the stuff that is not paid for in cash terms, but may still cause you a lot of effort: assessing which of the free e-books on the web are suitable for student use, for example, or obtaining from publishers draft versions of publications written by academics at your university for your institutional repository.
  • You will be familiar with many of these! I’m certain that you feel that there are too many, and that some of them are over-complicated, though it has to be said that many publishers and aggregators have tried to find models more palatable than the one-book, one-user model which was all that publishers would at first allow, and which librarians tend to dislike. There are three variations which I think will become more important in the future. The first, retail models, I think will eventually influence institutional supply. There will be various experiments in pricing in the retail market, and on the whole I think the effect will be to drive individual purchase prices down. Book rental – i.e., temporary purchase of a title – will also become more popular. Some librarians have already expressed an interest in this, because academics undertaking research projects only require the use of e-monographs at certain times of the year, usually during the June- September period. Micro-purchases and do-it-yourself books – or customised books produced ‘on the fly’ – will also grow in popularity. Publishers who have experimented with this model say that their biggest customers are students working through the night – not, perhaps, a surprise to you. The second new model, premium pricing, is a much more radical departure. I understand that there are some representatives from JISC here, and that they are presenting on the JISC e-textbooks project today. Whilst, as an economist, I feel bound to say that I have some reservations about this project – because it may have served to distort the market by placing arbitrary prices on e-textbooks rather than allowing the market to find its own level – it has also done the publishing industry the great service of establishing a precedent for premium pricing – i.e., pricing at many times the cover price in recognition of the value that the content holds both for the institution being supplied and the publisher. Earlier this year I carried out a survey of librarians in 33 countries on behalf of a well-known academic publisher to find out if they would support premium pricing, and the overwhelming majority said that they would. For publishers as well as librarians this is very significant, as it heralds a break with print-related pricing and signals the dawn of a time when the content is valued for its own sake, irrespective of format. Finally, there is what I have called ‘free plus’ pricing. This means that the publisher makes available a simple, not very searchable, e-book free of charge; but customers wanting a more sophisticated, higher resolution, more comprehensively searchable product – or indeed a POD print version - are required to pay for it. Three publishers experimenting with this model, each in slightly different ways, are Springer, the OECD and Bloomsbury Academic.
  • ‘ Content’ is an inadequate and colourless word – yet it is increasingly used as the only single word to represent all that a publisher has to offer, so I have stuck with it. Publishers are now turning their thoughts to exploiting ‘content’ in ways that are not format-specific – for example, by putting books and journals on the same platform (e.g. Taylor &amp; Francis; the Royal Society of Chemistry); co-operating with other publishers to allow academics and librarians to compile multi-publisher coursepacks (e.g., the group of academic publishers that supports CourseSmart in the US, led by Pearson); working with platform providers to allow their content to be ‘repurposeable’ – i.e., deliverable in very small chunks (e.g., Elsevier and Wiley, working with Mark Logic); and, increasingly, the development of e-only or ‘born digital’ content. All of these initiatives have implications for how publishing develops in the future. E-books may soon be very different from the ones we are familiar with today, and bear little relationship to the print book. The benefits that digital technology has to offer have been very sparingly exploited so far, and there are many exciting new developments to come – always with the proviso that the costs can be met by what the customer is prepared to pay for.
  • Much of what I described in the last slide has been influenced by large international directives and projects. Google, obviously – and the tools and resources available through Google burgeon all of the time. I have touched on the DAISY protocol, which is being adopted by many countries, and has been extremely influential, not only in creating digital books to help the sight-impaired, but also in causing publishers to consider the design of e-books more generally. The pan-European ARROW and Europeana projects, both led by the European Library (based at the Hague) offer perhaps the best example of librarians and publishers working together to make as much content available to as many people as possible without jeopardising publishers’ and authors’ copyright. As they have moved into the digital arena, the digital licences developed by collective reprographic rights organisations [RROs] such as the CLA and its many counterparts in other countries, have helped to further the availability of digitally-produced content (imperfect though librarians may consider their terms and conditions to be at present!). Finally, the bigger consortia, particularly the ones operating in the US, such as OhioLink, have succeeded in imposing terms and conditions of their own – OhioLink’s mantra is that publishers and aggregators should provide content on a single Ohio-Link operated platform, and a surprisingly large number of them have agreed to do this – will help to shape the landscape of the future.
  • What do I think the main issues for librarians are? Firstly, when migrating to ‘e’, I think you should consider how far you want to go, and how fast. For example, whilst many libraries now have ‘e-preferred’ policies, I have yet to interview a student who has not said that they want their core texts in print – and I interview many students across the whole university spectrum. Secondly, I think that, in a very positive way, the whole landscape will become less confrontational and more collaborative. A recurring theme at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year seemed to me to be that cross-industry and cross-organisational co-operation is now vital if electronic publishing is to be taken to the next stage. For librarians, I think it means working particularly with publishers and aggregators to address [second main bullet point]. Another point of key importance, now that usage statistics tell you so much about which of the materials you buy is being used the most, is how far you want to shift from serving the many to meeting the requirements of the few. This is, of course, of burning significance to research universities in particular. Finally, as I mentioned in the first slide, your role is changing just as radically as the publishers’ role, if not even more. Your patrons are going to need librarians just as much in the exciting but complex e-world that they are increasingly coming to inhabit; but you will have to find new ways of interacting with them, just as publishers will have to find new ways of interacting with you.
  • I don’t ‘do’ predictions, because they tend to look foolish even a short time afterwards. However, as my closing note, I would like to draw out some of the threads of this presentation and suggest that the following are things to watch out for: The ever-increasing presence of the search engines (not just Google) in the publishing and librarianship sectors. The influence on the academic publishing industry of pricing models designed primary for the retail and (secondary) educational sectors. Power struggles between publishers and aggregators, as publishers become more interested in selling direct and seek to regain control of their own content – I would suggest that the library suppliers who are also aggregators, such as Coutts and Dawson, will emerge from this stronger than the ones who are e-aggregators only. ‘Born digital’ publications that no longer look like digitised versions of print. Librarians will be excited about this, though there is a trade-off: leading edge digital innovation of this type is likely to be incompatible with the degree of standardisation that is attractive to the library sector. There will be more positively collaborative relationships across all sectors – and I think that librarians have the scope to initiate some of these. Finally, there will be new role definitions for both librarians and publishers – an area in which, both formally and informally, they can help each other.
  • Colin – I have talked to the PA about this, and they have said that they will be happy to sell the book as a syndicated version to the Scottish Academic Libraries at a discounted price (I have no financial interest in it myself – I don’t get a royalty. I just thought it might be useful). If they are interested, they should contact me or Mandy Knight at the PA –
  • E-Books: The Strategic Landscape

    1. 1. Linda Bennett Gold Leaf [email_address] Gold Leaf
    2. 2. <ul><li>Issues for publishers </li></ul><ul><li>Technological issues </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery methods </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing models </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Content’ versus existing formats </li></ul><ul><li>Large initiatives and directives </li></ul><ul><li>Issues for librarians </li></ul><ul><li>Things to look out for </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    3. 3. Issues for publishers <ul><li>Migration from print to ‘e’ </li></ul><ul><li>Channels of distribution: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggregators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retailers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publisher’s own website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To Google or not to Google? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Territoriality </li></ul><ul><li>Protection of intellectual property </li></ul><ul><li>Cost structures </li></ul><ul><li>Author royalties </li></ul><ul><li>Visibility – [ISBNs]; ONIX, MARC 21 and all that stuff! </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing: traditional and Web 2.0. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    4. 4. Technological issues <ul><li>E-book formats: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PDF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ePUB </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>XML </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Html </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kindle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Microsoft e-reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Palm e-reader </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sony media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>POD </li></ul><ul><li>Audiobooks </li></ul><ul><li>DAISY </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Rights Management tools. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    5. 5. Delivery methods <ul><li>PAID FOR: </li></ul><ul><li>PCs onsite, real time </li></ul><ul><li>PCs remote access, real time </li></ul><ul><li>PCs or laptops accessed by download </li></ul><ul><li>Via e-Reader device </li></ul><ul><li>Via mobile phone </li></ul><ul><li>Via a VLE </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Do-it-yourself’ digitised by the library (under digital licence) </li></ul><ul><li>NOT PAID FOR </li></ul><ul><li>Free material accessed via the web </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional repository. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    6. 6. Pricing models <ul><li>Institutional Licensing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscription single year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscription multi-year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited by numbers of access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Slot models </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Institutional Outright sale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Single user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-user </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time limited </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Retail models </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How much to charge? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Per device sale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Per user sale </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Book rental </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Micro purchase </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do-it-yourself </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Premium pricing </li></ul><ul><li>Free Plus. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    7. 7. ‘ Content’ <ul><li>Books and journals on the same platform </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-publisher options: CourseSmart, Vitalbook, coursepacks </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Repurposable’ content </li></ul><ul><li>E-only content </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for future development of publications – the move away from the digitised paper product and what it means. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    8. 8. Large Directives and Projects <ul><li>Google </li></ul><ul><li>E-books for the reading impaired </li></ul><ul><li>ARROW and Europeana </li></ul><ul><li>The influence of RROs </li></ul><ul><li>The influence of powerful consortia – e.g., OhioLink. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    9. 9. Issues for Librarians <ul><li>How far, how fast? </li></ul><ul><li>Working with publishers and aggregators to address: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Viable pricing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased visibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Formats and content design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ in perpetuity’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inter-library loans </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Balancing budgets versus providing university-standard range </li></ul><ul><li>Redefining the role as the clientele moves away from campus life. </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    10. 10. Things to look out for <ul><li>The search engines – all of the big ones </li></ul><ul><li>New pricing models based on the entry of the retail and educational sectors </li></ul><ul><li>Power struggles between publishers and aggregators – except the ones run by library suppliers </li></ul><ul><li>E-designed content at last. But librarians must choose between standardisation and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>More collaborative relationships across all sectors. </li></ul><ul><li>New role definitions </li></ul>Gold Leaf
    11. 12. Linda Bennett Gold Leaf [email_address] Gold Leaf