Are publishers confronting digital change, or is digital change confronting publishers? So wondered Chris Lederer, a director at AlixPartners and the moderator of "Organizations Confronting Digital Change," one in a series of educational webinars at September's free Publishing Business Virtual Conference & Expo, a production of Book Business and its sister publication Publishing Executive. Lederer, along with Ania Wieckowski, Managing Editor of Harvard Business Review Press, and Holly Gilly, VP, Product Development at Human Kinetics, provided deep knowledge and great takeaways for publishers who are grappling with digital change:
1."Digital Publishing 1.0 was experimental. Version 2.0 is fundamental,"said Lederer. Where the early stages of digital publishing focused on what was possible while adapting a traditional supply chain in a digital way, we're now in a stage where fundamental choices about how publishers go to market and design their organizations are being made.
2. "Acquire rights for the future,"said Wieckowski, when discussing HBRP's digital singles program. "We were surprised to learn that our audio licensee was very interested in short-form content," she said. "We're also going to produce a hardcover of the first single we released because it's been very successful."
3. "Have a targeted QA/ proofing plan,"said Wieckowski. Rather than have proofreaders read for every device, "we have a list of what we know to be common problems on the devices, so we have one format truly proofread, and then do a spot-check on the other devices."
4. "Think 'content,' not 'book,'" said Gilly. "We have our acquisitions editors talking to authors about providing content to be delivered in a variety of ways, including print, ebooks, apps, online courses…"
5. "Keep the Organizational structure flexible,"said Gilly. "Because we hire for adaptability and focus continually on internal evaluations of processes, we're positioned to move people from one area of the business to another."