The Redesign of Reading

Recently I visited the collection of rare books at The British Library. Among the panoply of priceless artifacts was a Gutenberg Bible. Alongside such monuments in the collection as the “Canterbury Tales” or the handwritten manuscript of “Jane Eyre ,” the Gutenberg Bible was less a cultural touchstone than a technical one. It was not that Gutenberg created any single […]

3 Keys to an Effective Mobile Strategy

Is the mobile platform the manna from the digital heavens that the Tribe of Publishing has been awaiting since the dawn of the digital age more than 20 years ago?  Does the mobile platform allow us to profitably recast our mission as publishers with value and relevance?  I would like to add my voice to the chorus chanting, emphatically, “maybe.”

So […]

The Promise of Subscription Services: Remarks to the AAUP

The following is a transcript of remarks delivered by Andrew Brenneman of Finitiv, at the annual meeting of the Chief Financial Officers of the American Association of University Presses, Spring 2011, in San Francisco.
Control Your Digital Destiny:
Subscription Services as a Model to Increase Publisher Revenue and Relevance

 Summary of Remarks
Digital Content Delivery Challenge
The mobile era of digital content delivery is a […]

What the Cloud Really Means for Publishers

Cloud computing refers to the delivery of applications, data storage and other computing resources over a network. In other words, the applications and data are sitting on a server somewhere, not on your desktop. This is the polar opposite of the “personal computer” model that most are familiar with, in which everything is sitting right there on your PC: the […]

Publishing’s Shift from Products to Services

Like manna from heaven, e-books hold forth the promise that publishing will continue to be relevant in the digital age. They represent a truly monetizable digital delivery model with demonstrated value to consumers. The debate now is not whether or not e-books will generate revenue, but how much revenue, and to what degree it will be incremental or replacement.

The classic […]

Google’s eBookstore: A Rising Tide

With a P.T. Barnum -like flourish, Google launched its eBookstore as “the largest e-books collection in the world!” Over 3 million titles! Step right up! Best-sellers and public-domain titles!

Google made good on its commitment of launching the eBookstore before the end of 2010, and 2011 will be an interesting year for the e-book world.

The launch of the Google eBookstore is the […]

6 Tools for Digital Success 
That Won’t Break the Bank

Publishers have long understood that the successful transition to a digital media organization requires sweeping changes: changes to product models; changes to distribution strategies; changes to technology platforms; and changes to the skills needed inside the organization. The question often seemed not “What needs to change?” but rather “What doesn’t?”

Over the past two years, the industry’s learning curve has been […]

Breaking Away 
From the App Herd

Publishers and media types often fall victim to a herd mentality, in which one and all jump on the latest bandwagon, the latest “hot topic.” The realm of digital publishing is especially susceptible to this bandwagon effect. Digital media will require a fundamental strategic shift for many media organizations, involving new business models and unfamiliar technical issues. It is often […]

Tiers Without Fears: What Technology Layers Mean to You

Complex systems, such as digital publishing platforms, are composed of a number of components that work together. Software architects often think of these components as being arranged in layers, or “tiers”, like a layer cake.

While there is lack of consensus as to how these tiers should be defined, there is strong convergence around one particular flavor of this layer cake: […]

Re-architecting Product Development

The advent of digital media has long threatened that the most fundamental processes of publishing must fundamentally change, as publishers grapple with delivering their offerings to multiple formats and devices, simultaneously and with equal quality.  Now, after years of delay and procrastination, publishers are beginning to this process of fundamental change.

Since the late Jurassic Period, books have been created with […]

The iPad Impact

The iPad launch was a classic bit of business theater. In what may prove to be one of the great product launches of his fabled career, Steve Jobs  unleashed his unique alchemy of stealth, spectacle and awe to lay his pearls before the impatient masses. The public played its role fervently, at once being swept up into the rapture of […]

The New Marketing Framework

A year ago, I wrote a column examining the problems that occur when publishing organizations place marketing departments in technology silos, without access to digital assets and tools that would otherwise make marketing programs more effective.

The situation seems only to have gotten more dire. As digital media becomes increasingly important, so does the strategic potential of marketing organizations. Yet, often, […]

8 Tips for Driving Digital Change in Your Company

Here are the best ways to begin or continue to get traction in the digital realm in 2010.

1.Have a three- to 30-month digital plan.
Map out a plan for digital initiatives that will take place between three and 30 months from now. Include activities related to content conversion, digital process innovation, digital asset conversion and management, digital product development and digital […]

Cross-Media Product Strategy

Every medium possesses a unique set of characteristics. While this statement sounds self-evident at face value, the failure to understand and exploit the attributes of each medium often results in strategic missteps for publishers. The result: product failure from putting the wrong product in the wrong medium, or missed opportunities for product value creation.

Three media that we are all grappling […]

E-Reader Evolution—Beyond Ink

Common in the history of technology products is the pattern that devices with multiple functions generally take market share from earlier, single-purpose devices. A classic example can be found in word processing: Dedicated word processors, such as those from Wang and IBM, gave way to PCs that could be used for a wide range of applications, among them word processing. […]

Editors: Keepers of the Brand

After college graduation, I was saddled with the challenge of wielding a liberal arts degree in a tough job market. My strategy was to throw myself into technology and grad school. Many classmates of mine went the traditional publishing route, nabbing junior editorial roles. This was … ahem! … a few decades ago, and the starting salary was around $15,000. […]

Quantity = 1: Customization’s Unfulfilled Promise

Digital content enables distribution on a massive scale. A few examples:

the ability to inexpensively and instantaneously spam the known universe;
the ability to distribute video content to audiences that a small cable network would find attractive; and
most importantly, the ability for Ashton Kutcher to keep a million of us abreast of his every move in real time (via Twitter).

Digital platforms remove the […]

Understanding Your Digital Opportunities

Profound, technology-driven changes in the content marketplace have presented publishers with a mandate for transformation, to change the manner in which value is delivered, how it is monetized, and the tools and skills necessary to do so. At present, this is seen most strikingly in the world of print. Seismic events are regularly occurring that herald the dawn of new […]

The Google Settlement

It has been several months since Google’s preliminary out-of-court settlement with the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors Guild regarding Google Book Search, and the dust has yet to settle. The agreement’s true impact will only become apparent over time, as its terms are put into practice. The devil will be in the details of execution. This is […]

The Marketing Silo

To varying degrees and rates of speed, publishing companies are transforming themselves into digital organizations.

While the vision varies from organization to organization, the essence of the transformation is the adoption of an approach in which content is created and transformed on a common digital platform, and in which the publishing life cycle itself is supported by a data-driven system.

The rationale […]