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

The Technology Underpinnings:
Brief history:
Presentation Technologies

Technologies underlying digital publishing strategies
Fundamental questions:
  • What technologies matter?
  • What's "coded text" and why should I care?
  • Coded for what?
    • presentation?
    • processing?
    • meaning?
  • What are we preparing for?

Key Technologies, Terms, and Acronyms:
Network Infrastructure:
  • IP address, Domain, website
Promotion (machine to machine):

Applying Your Choices
We all understand:
  • Publishing is more than just production
  • More than just printing and distribution
  • More than just marketing
  • Selection, nurturance, enhancement, promotion, packaging, positioning, distribution, and much more
  • Serving the customer
  • Adding value to the content

Fundamental Considerations
For any e-publishing project, we must consider:
  • Digital Publishing Goals
  • Publishing Mission
  • Temporal Dimension/Half-life
  • Type of Content Mix (the list)
  • Nature of Audience/Market
  • Current Technical Infrastructure/skills
  • Near-future expectations

Easy to overspend on technology
  • XML, HTML may not be useful to you
  • PDF may be sufficient as a "self-archive" for repurposing
  • Website development can be "by hand" if under 50 books/year
  • Automation requirements rise with # of objects
  • Technical expertise requirements increase with rise in automation
  • Technical expertise requirements rise with # of partners

Easy to underspend on technology
  • Typesetter/InDesign/Quark files may become obsolete/useless
  • Cost of "re-digitizing" material may inhibit "Long Tail" profits. However, those costs are getting very low.
  • If Website is not optimized for search, it may result in few visitors, thus driving choices not to invest in Website
  • "Relationship with readers" requires infrastructure, both technical and customer service

Content half-life
These new realities:
  • Long tail: NAP 2006, 15000 items possible, 1100 bought once, 3600 < 10
  • The publishing tradition of 3-year lifespan for a book: no longer true; no meaningful content need ever die
  • Our markets are now so wide but so shallow that we cannot find them: they will need to find us,
Drive these realities:
  • Any content that can be reused, reread, repurposed, or with historical value, is worth richly digitizing (via XML or other structured text), and/or richly enhancing with metadata.
  • Almost any "dynamic" information (news, stocks, AMPCI data) requires "born digital" to be salable.

Content Types: examples
  • Novels, monographs, "immersive" material
  • Children's, educational, reference
  • Impulse purchase, humor
  • Library purchase, historical
  • Regional, temporal-political, business
  • Newspaper, magazine, journal

Audience Types: examples
  • Early adopters of technology?
  • Traditional (25-55 years old)?
  • Younger?
  • In-class? In-home? In-office?
  • "K to gray"

Publishing Project Goals: examples
  • Profit only?
  • Brand appeal, or other long-term goals?
  • Promote content, some sales (NAP)
  • Promote content, more/new sales (HBSP)
  • Influence society?

Changing Landscape of Technical Infrastructure
  • 1 technologist / 10 people = basic desktop/network
  • 2 technologists / 10 people = above + server + simple Website
  • 2.5 technologists / 10 people = above + active Website
  • 3+ technologists / 10 people = above + building/operating subscription/payment etc.
  • Note 10/1 rule for programmers/tech

Changing Landscape of Technical Infrastructure, continued
  • New players in fundamental IT infrastructure: Amazon, Google, Sun, Yahoo, or local businesses who can provide server, applications, and services over Ethernet
  • New options: outsource (without charge) book presentation and sales to Google Book Search, Amazon, etc.
  • New options: purchase/use services (Book Treasurehouse for online catalog, Lulu, for print on demand.
  • New options: purchase in-house solutions, by using offshore programmers
  • New options: partner with Ebrary, NetLibrary, etc.
  • New options: build own Spanish-language consortium/collective like the above

Basics of Technical Infrastructure
  • Internal PCs, Macs, printers
  • Internal network, file system, database, with backup
  • Basic Web server maintenance (LAMP, Microsoft) and backup
  • Digitization/Transformation processes
  • Web site presentation (design, implementation)
  • Web site applications (relationship with customers, shopping cart, providing content, etc.)

Outsourcing, Partnering
  • Internal PCs -- can be freelance/on-call/service
  • Internal network -- same, or can be a "virtual" network via Web
  • Basic Web server -- easy to rent
  • Digitization/Transformation -- easy to outsource
  • Web site presentation -- many freelancers and companies
  • Web site applications -- more difficult, but outsource-able

Risks of Outsourcing and Partnering:
  • May decrease internal flexibilities
  • Risk losing "inventiveness" and "responsiveness"
  • May prevent "relationship building" with customers
  • May interfere with your ability to evolve internally

Glimmers of "Web 2.0"
What is Web 2.0?
  • "The Web as a programming platform"
  • "Live web"
  • "Social Networking"
  • "Architecture of Participation"
  • "Lightweight and flexible business models"
  • "Machine-to-machine intelligence"

Examples of "Web 2.0"

Most of "Web 2.0" is alien to existing publishing culture
  • However, it's where most of the excitement (and venture capital) are
  • Most Web 2.0 "publishers" are non-traditional, non-paper
  • Biggest competitors to traditional publishing online

Taking Advantage of Web 2.0
  • Google is biggest example of "collective intelligence"
  • PageRank: short explanation
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Our content can be "destinations" for collective intelligence (if it's made available)
  • Entice your customers to have a relationship with you
  • Respect your customers in return

Search Engine Optimization
  • Terms and links
  • Key terms, actively used
  • Ensure others link to you
  • Ensure all website images have "meaningful alt tags"
  • Encourage participation by others

Example Web 2.0 applications for Engaging with Audience
  • Ning (free, interesting, general purpose)
  • Ruby on Rails (programming interface that makes some things *very* easy)
  • Many free "blog"-producing sites
  • MySpace etc.
  • Yahoo "Tubes" showing possible information utilities

Vendor Presentations
Copyright and Intellectual Property
  • Jose Luis Caballero