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Digital Asset Distribution for Book Publishers: An Emerging Infrastructure
Why Every Publisher needs a Digital Asset Distributor (DAD)
As the leading international supplier of standard software and consulting services for publishers, Klopotek encourages the development of emerging ideas, cutting-edge research and networking within the publishing industry. This conference is part of Klopotek’s ongoing research and conference program that addresses publishing supply chain issues, “from editorial to market”.
Conference Information 21 June 2007 Hilton Times Square New York, NY, USA 12 July 2007 Goethe Institut London, UK Don't Miss Out, Register Now! Register at www.klopotek.com or for USA tickets call: +1.800.239.9254 for UK tickets call: +44.20.7716.5500 Hosted by: John Wicker, Klopotek North America Gregor Wolf, Klopotek AG
Presentations by: BiblioVault codeMantra CPI Book Bank Google HarperCollins/NewsStand Holtzbrinck/Macmillan Bookstore Ingram Random House UK Value Chain International Moderated by: Mark Bide, Rightscom Limited Mike Shatzkin, The Idea Logical Company
from editorial to market
Klopotek commissioned the White Paper ‘Digital Asset Distribution for Book Publishers: An Emerging Infrastructure’ and accompanying conferences to analyze the present market and highlight critical issues for publishers to consider. The conferences will be significant events. For the first time, many of the companies investing in building the infrastructure intended to support the entire industry will share ideas and their vision for publishing’s future. Klopotek anticipates working closely with DADs and publishers to facilitate the flow of information through the supply chain. It has a key role to play in helping publishers to examine their metadata integrity and to implement systems that allow integrated support of all publishing processes: from author contracts to production schedules; from rights and royalties through order processing and financial management. It was into this market gap in 2006 that we began to see a whole range of new vendors cropping up, alongside the small number of existing companies who offered services to publishers which can broadly be described as Digital Asset Distribution. These existing vendors come from a variety of backgrounds. Several were large publishers who recognized both the need to develop these services for themselves, as well as the opportunity to amortize their own investment by offering these services to others. Other vendors come from a more conventional “publishing services” background involving printing and composition, where the management of digital files was the next logical step in their service offerings. Still others are from various niches within the publishing industry. Some come from technology or technology consulting backgrounds, others have expanded on their existing intermediary role as a wholesaler in the physical book distribution chain, while another was a co-op of smaller publishers, looking to join forces to overcome the investment and ongoing management challenges. And so we recognized that a whole new type of business was coming into place – the Digital Asset Distributor, or DAD. Different DAD Approaches The range of backgrounds of these businesses has created considerable diversity in approaches to the market and the offerings they are making. Currently, there is only an emerging understanding with regards to the specific services a DAD should be required to offer. At the highest abstract level, the services that might be offered by a DAD are illustrated in a graphic on the next page. Similarly, no consensus has yet formed on what business models a DAD should pursue. Many DADs are quite frank that, for them, this still has to be figured out. From the point of view of “the publisher on the street”, this diversity is challenging. In this new world, every publisher needs a DAD; but which DAD is offering what they need? Do they need more than one? This was just the beginning of a number
An Introduction to Digital Asset Distributors
Why every publisher needs a DAD For some time, publishers have realized that the physical distribution of books is essentially a “parity function”, bringing only a slight competitive advantage if done well, but nonetheless a function that can sink a business if done poorly. Through time, and more importantly through experience, publishers have come to recognize that efficient distribution involves massive economies of scale in physical, technical and management infrastructures. As a result, the physical distribution of books has been primarily fulfilled by larger publishers and third party aggregated service providers. This pattern will also likely be repeated for the distribution of digital assets. The Emerging Infrastructure Currently, only a small percentage of publishers, primarily in the professional and academic sectors, have learned how to deliver their content effectively in the digital form. These publishers have become increasingly adept at managing all forms of digital content distribution. However, these sectors are typically dominated by massive, international publishers who have invested the required money and time in developing the sophisticated technical skills and capabilities to support these new requirements. But now, suddenly, every book publisher is discovering that digital content is repeatedly needed by different people, in different forms, in different places and at different times, creating the need for a solution for distributing all of a publisher's digital content. This creates a whole set of challenges which is not just a matter of the multiplicity of technical formats for e-books, although that is a challenge that needs careful consideration. Currently, there is the need to make book content available for marketing and search engine access (whether by Google or by Amazon and increasingly by Yahoo or Microsoft and, we can be sure, by coming vertical search offerings); and there is growing potential for dis- and reaggregated content. These new demands sit alongside more basic digital management requirements such as sending the right digital files to your printers (whether using conventional or digital printing technologies) and for the effective distribution of metadata through the supply chain. There is nothing very exciting about digital distribution to a publisher. And like physical distribution, it requires a high-priced infrastructure as well as skills that are in short supply (and therefore expensive). Publishers continue to want to retain ownership and control over these critical assets and over the distribution processes, but for the most part they have neither the money nor the desire to do it for themselves.
of questions that began to occur to us as we continued to evaluate these issues: When (if ever) is it sensible for a publisher to buy or build their own technical infrastructure fulfilling part or all of the functions of a DAD for themselves? What are the risks of outsourcing Digital Asset Distribution? How can these be effectively mitigated? Which functions that publishers currently manage themselves might be rendered obsolete if they decide to outsource to a DAD? How would this change the cost and risk profiles? What is the relationship between Digital Asset Management and Digital Asset Distribution? To what extent will outsourcing to a DAD force changes in
current practices and workflows in a publishing house? How much does a publisher need to know in order even to be able to make use of a DAD and how can smaller publishers develop the knowledge and skills that they need? How does online access to a publisher’s content change both processes and accountability for version management? To what extent have the leading edge professional and academic publishers been disadvantaged by their early entry into digital distribution as the full advantages of the potential for increasing the “connectedness” of content become apparent? How many DADs does the industry need? How many can the market support? Is
the consolidation of DADs as inevitable as the consolidation of other intermediary aggregators in the content supply chain? What role will the practices of those who receive files from the DADs have in driving consolidation? It was against the background of these questions that we set out to undertake the research that underpins this White Paper. Could we understand from potential customers (Digital Asset Producers, or DAPS) what they believe that they need from the DADs? What could we learn from the potential recipients of the digital files (Digital Asset Recipients, or DARs) about their expectations and experiences of working with the DADs? And what could we learn from the DADs themselves?
Services offered by DADs
A high level view of services that may be offered by DADs. Some DADs are also offering comprehensive consultancy services to DAPs to help them prepare their content for digital distribution – others are simply assuming the necessary level of technical capability in their customers. (Note: this is a conceptual diagram not a system architecture!)
7. Distribution to consumers
1. Delivery from DAP 2. Pre-ingest processing
3. Metadata store
7. Retail interface
4. Postoutput processing 5. Distribution to DARs 7. Distribution to consumers
3. Content store
6. Search and retrieval interface
6. Controlled access by DARs
DAPs (Digital Asset Producers) = every publisher and producer of content in digital form
DADs (Digital Asset Distributors) = maintains and distributes DAP's digital content – see speaker list for some specific examples
DARs (Digital Asset Recipients) = a “user” of DADs work – for example: Google, Amazon or netLibrary
1. Content and metadata about that content is delivered by the DAP to the DAD. 2. This may require some degree of pre-processing before the content and the metadata can be stored. That pre-ingest processing may be minimal or may be as involved as the scanning and conversion of printed books. 3. Content and metadata must be stored and managed securely. Content may be held in a single, common format or in multiple formats (generally PDF and XML variants). In addition to
the content, some minimal metadata is essential for the management. However, there are many different types of metadata and different DADs take a differing degree of interest in the creation and management of that metadata. 4. At output, content may be required in a different format. This may be undertaken “on demand” or “just in case”. 5. The appropriate files are delivered to the right DAR then on to consumers through various channels.
6. One special application relates to controlling search – where DARs may be given access to full text archives for managed search and retrieval. This is seen as providing greater security to DAPs than releasing the full text files directly to the DAR. 7. Another specialist application is a retail interface (either white label or branded) to allow consumers to purchase files in appropriate formats. These are not intended to act as “stand alone” retail stores, but to be integrated with DAP websites.
from editorial to market
Klopotek commissions research that we believe will benefit the entire publishing industry and provide publishers with the knowledge to make more informed decisions within this highly dynamic industry. We are pleased to have worked on this research with independent consultants Mark Bide, Mike Shatzkin and their associates. Mark Bide joined Rightscom in March 2001, following nearly 10 years running his own consultancy. He has 35 years experience in the publishing industry having been a Director of the European subsidiaries of both CBS Publishing and John Wiley & Sons. Subsequently, he developed one of the most highly respected independent publishing consultancies in the UK, with particular expertise in the impact of network technology on the information valuechain. At Rightscom, Mark has undertaken projects on behalf of many clients including the European Commission, the British Library, the Publishers Association, EDItEUR, UKOLN, the JISC, the Publishers Licensing Society, the Copyright Licensing Agency, the Recording Industry Association of America, the International DOI Foundation, the European Publishers Council and the World Association of Newspapers.
Mike Shatzkin, Founder and CEO of The Idea Logical Company, has worked on supply chain and digital change challenges in book publishing for nearly four decades. The Idea Logical also provides a sales data reporting service, Supply Chain Tracker, to publishers in the US, UK, and Canada. Mike has organized conferences on the future of book publishing in New York, London, and Frankfurt. He is also the author of several books about baseball and the owner of BaseballLibrary.com, the largest online aggregation of narrative writing on baseball history.
The conferences are hosted by:
John Wicker has over twenty years experience in the publishing and software industries. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Klopotek North America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Klopotek AG. Prior to joining Klopotek, John was the Executive Vice President for VISTA International where he had worldwide responsibility for all sales and marketing. During his time at VISTA, he was a member of the VISTA International Board and also served as a Board Member of the Book Industry Study Group.
Gregor Wolf joined Klopotek when the company was founded in 1992 and became shareholder in 1993. He has held several management positions in the Klopotek Group in Germany and the UK. In 2005, he was appointed Chief Technology Officer and member of the Executive Board of Klopotek AG. In his position as CTO, he is responsible for research, technology standards, and software development. Gregor’s studies in Berlin focused on applied informatics and software engineering, and he graduated as a computer scientist. He co-wrote the software development method PetS before leaving academic research to join the software industry.
USA and Canada Klopotek North America, Inc. 1700 Broadway, 26th Floor New York, NY 10019 www.klopotek.com
UK Klopotek UK Ltd. 90 Long Acre, Covent Garden London WC2E 9RZ www.klopotek.co.uk
Germany Klopotek & Partner GmbH Schlueterstr. 39 10629 Berlin www.klopotek.de
Benelux and Scandinavia Klopotek BV Oostenburgervoorstraat 120-124 1018 MR Amsterdam www.klopotek.nl
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