Creating Online Products with Bottom-Line Impact
Haworth’s latest charge is to replicate the company’s print success by creating new online products that will contribute to the bottom line. Haworth is in the process of digitizing its journals dating back to 1973 to create a searchable archive that will increase the revenue from single-article sales.
Hall says the company decided not to make the full text of its archives available to multipublisher academic search engines, such as Google Scholar, in order to protect its revenue stream. He says other publishers have indicated to Haworth a loss in revenue by participating in these services, so Haworth decided to create and control its own archive.
Haworth sells the print versions of its journals as individual subscriptions, but the company smells opportunity in bundling content. It is aggregating the electronic versions of related journals into “suites” that will be sold at a discount, Hall says. For example, Haworth produces seven journals covering gay, lesbian and bisexual topics, and libraries that subscribe to the suite of digital versions will be able to pay an as-yet-to-be-determined reduced fee.
According to Hall, one of the major target markets for the online suites will be academic libraries, who are under increasing spatial limitations. He says that 4 percent of the library subscribers have asked that the printed documents not be shipped even though customers currently pay full price.
Publishers who are considering discounted digital-only subscriptions must factor the potential effect on current revenues before launching new products, Hall says.
“You have to calculate your anticipated ratio in the drop off in existing revenue versus what you can gain tomorrow,” he says.
Creating aggregations of content for online products also can inspire publishers to create additional print products, Hall says. Based on its evaluation of the potential for selling aggregated content, Haworth is now considering printing annual anthologies of the related journals that would be based on the company’s suites of content.