Gene Therapy: From Book Proposal to Profit
Chris Anderson’s ironic farewell to the retail bookshelf is a harbinger of how direct distribution in the supply chain is bypassing the traditional foundations of bookselling—as well as library patronage—and is also flowing into nonprint formats.
But while that transformation is nibbling around the edges of distribution, the fact remains that the book publishing industry’s supply chain model has as its primary target a physical book on a physical bookshelf.
In this special two-part series, I want to discuss how digital data management drives workflow through the operations, acquisitions, development, production and distribution supply chain; in particular, how use of the Online Information Exchange (ONIX) format connects data flow accurately to the marketplace.
One golden rule to note: There is no universal process that will work for everybody. Each publishing house has a relative scale of business, product mix and corporate culture to take into account, which is demonstrated in the following examples of systems at Stanford and Princeton University presses. In part II of this series, you’ll learn about the systems in place at global publishers Wiley and Simon & Schuster; leading independent, conservative trade publisher Regnery Publishers; and nonprofit public policy research institute and publisher RAND Corp.
Stanford University Press
The Stanford University Press (SUP) Publishing Tracking System is built around a series of modules in a FileMaker 8.5 database. The modules follow workflow chronology from pre-contract acquisitions through production and manufacturing to sales and inventory tracking. It was developed internally by the press’s IT manager, Chris Costner, and is loosely based on a system bought from Duke University Press in 1998.
The major modules are shown in the chart on page 26, provided by John Zotz, chief operating officer of the press and a veteran systems specialist. Stanford’s system has now been sold to Temple University Press and the University of Chicago Press.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.