Publishing 2012
World Bank/George Washington University
Mexico City, Feb 2007
Preparing for the Future:
Digital Strategies for Publishers
Michael Jon Jensen

Primary Speakers

Michael Jensen
National Academies Press

Santiago Pombo
World Bank Publishing

Publisher Introductions
  • Name
  • What kind of publishing?
  • Any electronic initiatives?
  • What is your role?

  • mex1_3.htm
    Michael Jensen self-introduction
    Entire career has focused on technology in the world of scholarly and nonprofit publishing.

    Typesetting books from 1983-1988

    1986-1995: University of Nebraska Press, Electronic Media Manager
    • Produced first searchable online catalog by a publisher, via Telnet, 1989
    • Producing CD-ROMs, later Web, also network management, database infrastructure, modems, etc.

    Michael Jensen self-introduction, cont'd
    1995 - 1998: Johns Hopkins University Press, Electronic Publisher
    Large online journals program (Project Muse), several CDROMs, two online reference works

    1998-now: National Academies Press, Director of Publishing Technologies
    2001-now: National Academies, Director of Web Communications

    Teach courses in George Washington University's Master's in Publishing
    National Academies Press
    Publisher for The National Academies:
    • National Academy of Sciences
    • National Academy of Engineering
    • Institute of Medicine
    • National Research Council
    Non-governmental, nonpolitical, nonprofit.

    Publication print runs range from 100 to 50,000.

    Reports written by committees of expert volunteers, to inform public policy.

    National Academies Press: Data Points
    • Publishes ~ 200 reports/year advising the nation on
      science, engineering, technology, medicine, and health policy
    • More than 3600 reports fully, freely browsable online (more than
      650,000 pages available, each printable)
    • More than 18,000,000 visitors/year (~ 1.5M/month, 2006)
    • 180,000,000 book page views/year
    • NAP has been digitizing publications for free online dissemination
      since 1994 (first page images, then page-based HTML, PDFs, TEI XML)
    Overall Missions of The National Academies Press
    Dual, Competing Missions:
  • Dissemination: generate the most influence and impact by getting reports into the most hands and minds

  • Cost Recovery: NAP is required to be self-sustaining through sales of National Academies publications

  • mex1_8.htm
    Mission: Cost Recovery/Sustainability

    A robust Web publishing and online sales program. Online only:
    • More than 100 orders per workday
    • 200 books and PDFs per workday
    • Approximately 33,000 online orders/yr
    • Website sales represent 28% of overall sales, 60% of orders
    Mission: Maximal Dissemination/Visibility

    Balance of openness to machines, with slight clumsiness for humans.
    • Driven by organizational requirement
    • Page-by-page navigation, of 3600 books (600,000 pages)
    • Easy browsing (skim, search), not super-easy printing
    • Very search-engine friendly (first 5, last 5 pages text included in 1st page of chapter)
    • Single "catalog page" for every book
    • Lots of interlinking for navigation
    Economic Drivers for NAP's Digital Choices
    • Rapid pace -- one book per working day, plus one prepublication per day
    • Combination of in-house and out-of-house composition
    • Frequent last-minute changes
    • Need for instant online publication at "embargo release"
    • Low production costs for short runs and long -- we're a nonprofit
    • Maximal appropriate openness at all stages

    Framework for Conference
    • Distilling a semester into a few days
    • Spiral design -- often returning to points in new way
    • Focus on strategic AND tactical approaches
    • Look back at trends as well as forward.
    Framework for Conference, cont'd
    We want you to come away with:
    • practical framework for making strategic publishing choices in online world
    • understanding of the key issues facing publishers as culture reacts to technology changes
    • knowledge of the key technologies and their acronyms
    I can only speak from a US-centric perspective, and look to your participation, to educate me about the habits, markets, and readership culture of Mexico

    • Electronic Publishing = Digital Publishing: screen as reading device
    • Online Publishing: publishing on Web, not CD-ROM or e-book for offline reading
    • Digital Production: use of digital technology to prepare content to enable print, print-on-demand, PDF e-book, or XML output.
    • Broadband: always-on, video-capable connectivity
    See glossary provided, for more information -- and stop me if I use terms I should define.
    Changing our Perceptions
    • Biggest challenge is changing our way of thinking about content, about containers, about our audiences.
    • Print is "one size fits all" -- often "forced to fit" via author, editor, marketing, or production choices.
    • Digital is almost infinitely flexible in format -- thus infinitely possible (and dangerous).

    Realities of Print
    Print will be with us for rest of our professional lives, because of the habits of our culture, and the preferences of the market.

    Technology itself is not the driver -- it is only the enabler.

    Thus our future is a mix of print AND digital. Some projects will be digital only, but fewer every year will be print only

    Electronic Publishing Frequently Asked Questions:

    • For free, or for subscription, or for purchase?
    • PDF, or Web page, or something else?
    • Can I integrate it into my production stream?
    • Web or CD-ROM or DVD?
    • Stream/read online, or download?
    • Open or restricted?
    • Print or digital? One or the other? Both?
    • How much do I have to spend?

    Electronic Publishing FAQs 2:
    • Do I do digital production in-house or do I outsource?
    • Do I do digital fulfillment in-house or do I outsource
    • How does anybody make any money online?
    • Will I lose subscribers/purchasers?
    • Will I gain anything?
    • What about Print-On-Demand? Microinventory? Print-at-desktop?
    • Do I have to do it now, or can I do it later?
    • Do I really have to?
    The Answer:
    ... it depends.

    It depends on...

    • Digital Publishing Goals
    • Publishing Mission
    • Type of Content Mix (the list)
    • Temporal Dimensions (content half-life)
    • Nature of Audience/Market
    • Current Technical Infrastructure/skills
    • Near-future expectations
    Digital Publishing Goals
    • Make money?
    • Spread Message?
    • Recover costs?
    • Attract authors?
    • Strengthen Funder/Customer/Member Ties?
    • Attract customers?

    Publishing Mission
    • Communication?
    • Member benefit?
    • Basic business (profit)?
    • Promote profession?
    Type of Content
    • Deeply read, or skimmed/browsed?
    • Read once and discarded?
    • Referenced/retained?
    • Searched?
    • Shared with others?
    • Image-driven?
    • Facts or Perspective?
    • Entertainment or education?
    Temporal dimensions:
    • Relatively static and complete once produced
    • Static once created; added to periodically
    • Continuously new
    • Dynamically changing
    • Reactive to readers
    • Valuable immediately, then declining
    • Valuable continuously
    Nature of Audience
    • Demographic of now (age, income, habits)
    • Near-future demands
    • Are they online?
    • Is a long-term relationship possible?
    • How do they use the material?
    • How do they want to receive it?
    • How can they pay for it?
    Current Technical Infrastructure/Skills
    • Are existing staff Web users?
    • Do you already have a website?
    • Do you have bibliographic information in a shared database?
    • Change is difficult
    • Outsourcing or freelancers may be smartest route initially
    • Build vs. Buy vs. Hire
    Near-future Expectations
    • What changes in your infrastructure, staffing, content do you expect in the next five years?
    • Broadband dramatically changes a user's relationship to the Web:
      • how soon will your primary audience have broadband?
      • how soon are laptops in your primary audience's hands?

    A Brief Cultural History of Electronic Publishing in the U.S.

    What we've learned in the last ten years about transformations in US book markets, brought on by the Internet and the "digital revolution."

    Phase I, the transformative effect of large populations with simple Internet access

    Phase II, the further transformations brought on by "majority broadband."

    Phase I:
    Majority PC, with Basic Internet Access (1993 - 2003)

    • PCs cheap enough to be in most homes
    • CD-ROMs are best transmission device for most material (650-700 MB)
    • Educational material sells well (demographic match)
    • Games sell well

    Phase I continued: Internet access
    • Generally modem over telephone line
    • Store-and-forward, nothing "streaming"
    • Not fully dependable
    • Takes 20 seconds to "log on"
    • May be per-minute charges
    • Mostly links-to-things and "sites" -- no Google
    • Requires relationship with "service provider"

    Phase I continued: Audience attitudes:

    • Content is scarce, valued, and of presumed quality
    • Books, magazines, newspapers are still the gold standards.
    • Paper version is "real thing"
    • Content is still considered a "thing": container = content
    • Universities have networks early, and have libraries with increasing budgets for "e-stuff"

    Phase I continued: Publishing Successes

    Most e-publishing projects that succeed are large collections:

    Phase I continued: Other Publisher Sales Models

    • Institutional Subscriptions (requires continuing technical, organizational, and marketing infrastructure)
    • Institutional Sales (provide collected data to libraries, who have their own presentation/rights infrastructure)
    • CD-ROMs, though librarians grew to hate them
    • Very few successful "rent to individual" or "sale to individual" projects.
    • Many, many failures: ebooks on floppy, ebooks on CD, ebooks on E-Reader, etc.

    Phase II:
    Ubiquitous PC, Majority Broadband (2004 - )

    • PCs with broadband in most homes and businesses
    • Email nearly universal
    • Web integrated into daily life
    • Every business has to have a Web site
    • CD-ROMs generally only given away
    • Always-on access, instantly
    • Information abundance, not scarcity

    Phase II continued: Audience Attitudes

    • Content must be findable online (or else it doesn't exist)
    • At least part of it must be free
    • Content is what is read, regardless of container
    • Paper is just another container, with particular advantages for some purposes
    • Content itself is less highly valued, there being so much of it
    • Libraries still important market for peer-reviewed digital projects
    • Library budgets continue to be aimed at digital
    • CD-ROMs are despised as e-content -- "why isn't it online"?

    Phase II continued: Publisher Challenges

    • Open Access models challenge traditional value-added "restricted access" models
    • Content must compete with Wikipedia and other free material for attention
    • Still no single standard in format or for "what people want" -- and probably never will be

    Phase II continued: Successful Publishing Models

    Where is Mexico in the Phase I to Phase II shift?

    • According to AMPCI, currently 20 million Web-using Mexicans
    • About half dial-up, half broadband
    • InternetWorldStats
    • SearchEngineWatch article
    • From Online Purchases With Credit Cards Grow 190% (November 23, 2005): The number of online purchases with credit cards in the first half of 2005 came to 84,268, a 190% hike from the same period of 2004. The average purchase amount dropped from MXN 965 to MXN 798 in the same period.

    Entire Spanish Language market is much larger

    Sept. 20, 2006 - "The number of Spanish Speaking Internet users in the world has reached 81,729,671, according to Internet World Stats. These users are located in 20 countries in the Americas and in Spain. They represent a large global Internet market and are the fourth largest language group, after English, Chinese and Japanese speakers."

    In Broadband World, No Boundaries
    In the era of Google and broadband, the entire Spanish-speaking market must be considered as "your market."

    We will get more information from AMIPCI later -- but as publishers, you know the culture, the reading habits, the market, and the relationship to the Web that the reading public has.

    • Which demographics are growing/changing?
    • Are there institutional markets for subscriptions?
    • Are there consortia of libraries?
    • Are there educational markets?
    • What markets have dependable broadband, and how do they use the Web?

    Lunch Break

    • World Bank (Santiago Pombo)
    • AMIPCI (Jorge Acosta)
    • NAP

    Short Break

    Success stories in online publishing

    • NAP
    • Google Book Search
    • Many small successes: individual books, books with blogs around them, mostly books made freely readable
    • Cory Doctorow example of open access success

    Success stories in online publishing, cont'd

    Book aggregators still in business and paying publishers:

    Success stories in online publishing, cont'd


    Success stories in online publishing, cont'd

    Topical Collections:

    Discussions about Success

    • Which models would make sense now in Spanish markets?
    • Which models will make sense in five years?
    • Some content never dies -- but can be controlled and nurtured
    • Some audiences are willing to pay for a brief advantage
    • You are not so much competing against each other, but against new players like Google, authors, associations, technologies, and communities.