Digital Directions: 5 Affordable Digital Media Projects for 2013
Andrew Brenneman, founder of Finitiv.
You noticed the reference to CSS in the section above, didn't you? Most design departments are quite skilled in print composition—use of InDesign, the intricacies of pre-press and so on. Less so with defining the look of an ebook via CSS. However, understanding how to design through the creation of CSS (for ebook or web) should be considered a core skill in the Design Department. CSS work can and sometimes should be outsourced to service providers, but it is critical that designers and art directors become conversant in CSS: in the details of the code.
CSS is new for some teams, but it should not be considered "too much like programming" or "something we don't do." Five to 10 years ago, marketing departments became conversant in HTML and CSS. And look at them now. Now it's time for you guys to ramp up.
I am rooting for you.
—Your friend, Andrew
3. Get to Know Your Metadata
Bibliographic and distribution metadata is the digital glue of efficient publishing organizations. It powers marketing and distribution channels. It keeps the print catalog in sync with the website. It's the master index to all the great stuff you create.
Some marketing departments are intimately familiar with their metadata because they create and maintain their own metadata with commercial title management applications such as those from Firebrand and VirtuSales. Other organizations, however, allow distribution partners to manage their bibliographic metadata for them. This can be an efficient path for some organizations, however it becomes problematic when the publisher is no longer in control of the metadata directly. They end up not being familiar with the structure and contents of their own metadata stores. Understanding how to enrich metadata helps power efficient and manageable multi-channel distribution programs. If a publisher is not at least steering the metadata approach, they lose a degree of strategic control in their distribution program. Even if the publisher is not taking primary ownership of metadata management, they should maintain an in-depth and current knowledge of the data in these systems.