Guest Column: The Key to Print-to-Digital Conversion: Simplicity
Keeping It Simple
The growth of Springer's digital offerings is at least partly attributable to its approach. Content consumers often have been confused and frustrated by the increased complexity in the publishing market. Springer responded by attempting to simplify digital delivery and reduce restrictions on digital content.
Fundamental to this strategy is that all Springer digital content is offered without any digital rights management (DRM) protection. DRM-free content allows users to access information without cumbersome protection technologies that often place restrictions on their ability to use it.
Another critical element in this strategy is that Springer delivers all of its content in universal formats, enabling users to easily access information from their PCs as well as mobile devices. These two elements have eliminated frustrating restrictions and provided the flexibility that users have come to expect from digital content.
With the advent of digital content, libraries also have had to adapt to dramatic changes in the way that patrons discover and interact with resources. Simultaneously, these same libraries have been pressured to work with smaller budgets because of cutbacks. As a result, they have increasingly turned to e-books. In response to these needs and with the journal experience in mind, Springer developed simple, flexible pricing combined with a robust "Collections" purchase model. This provides simplicity in licensing and greater access to information for a much lower per-unit cost.
More than ever, libraries must carefully select content and validate that their choices are meeting user needs, but measuring the value of content is no longer as simple as counting how many times a book is checked out. Digital articles and books are increasingly part of a network of connected texts, where the linking trends of a particular article may be as important a factor in gauging its value as the more traditional access and usage measurements. In a Collection, all content is available on a single platform and textually interlinked, with the ability to search large swathes of information, even from other disciplines. Because Springer content is accessible through a single, integrated platform, all e-books are cross-searchable with e-journals and other Springer resources, expanding the patron's reach and increasing the collection's value.