Ames Eases Content Conversion
Ames On-Demand has released a new version of its popular BookBuild online ordering and content management system.
The new release helps publishers better communicate with creative staff, and more easily reuse content across multiple publications, company officials say. It remains directly connected to Ames' high-speed digital presses, allowing custom publishers to manage content, order, and printing entirely online.
The update, dubbed version 3.0, provides publishers and writers with a centrally shared, secure publication repository. Users can upload and store content as separate elements, such as chapters, tables of contents, and graphics.
Using an online form, publishers can drag+drop the content into templates, get pricing quotes, and order print jobs entirely online. All that's required is a basic Web browser.
The new BookBuild release also adds support for more content types, including Microsoft Word DOC, Adobe PDF and PostScript, JPEG, plain text, RTF, TIFF, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Corel WordPerfect.
"We are always working to add more standard content file types," says Bill Lennane, director of technology at Ames On-Demand, in Somerville, Mass. "UNIX [file types are] next."
On the administration side, Lennane says publishers are asking for faster content uploads, and a streamlined ordering process. "They're looking for the elimination of the pre-press department," he says.
To speed performance of the system and cut cycle time, Ames redesigned the software's internal machinery for the 3.0 release. "We distributed the processes across different servers to speed cycle times," Lennane says. "A customer's wait during file upload and conversion is dramatically shorter [over previous versions]."
The new BookBuild 3.0 release provides customers with optional access to other management tools, such as Xerox's Digital Production software and Creo's Brisque Impose digital front end.
This gives customers the capability to directly choose among workflow templates in offset printing environments.
"Customers no longer have to call us," Lennane says. "We offer tools for their inventory, invoice, and order management, as well as the ability to connect with UPS."
It's a major upgrade, but as with all popular software, the next version is already in the works. A top priority: increased emphasis on content reuse. A future release will leverage XML to make content reuse easier, and make the product more compliant with industry standards.
"All roads point to a dependence on XML tools," Lennane says. "Publishers want an automated composition solution that can take raw data from many sources, and plug it into any design. XML is the dream in that area. But the technology isn't advanced enough to create a system based solely on [XML] today."
– Lisa Nadile