Gene Therapy: Managing Workflow: How Top Publishers Keep Their Houses in Order
Purchase orders are issued by the production department for outside services to have books manufactured.
For one-color books, PDF files and the native InDesign files from which they are made are sent to the printer. For four-color books, book files with “for position only” (FPO) scans and keyed art files are sent for page assembly and PDF conversion by the manufacturer.
The PDF files as well as the native and art files used for printing are archived by S&S in their digital asset management system. These files are accessed for corrections, revisions and conversions to other editions and formats.
Managing Title Data and ONIX Files
Helene Green, executive director of business information and data operations, says metadata is distributed into marketing and distribution channels outside of the company. “We follow [Book Industry Study Group (BISG)] best practices, and start the flow 180 days before the pub date,” she says.
Title information is entered when the book is acquired. Title information and updates are sent weekly to an outside data provider for conversion to Online Information Exchange (ONIX) format. The ONIX standard specifies and defines the data elements so that everyone is sure to refer to the same thing. The data provider then transmits the ONIX files to S&S-approved trading partners.
Prior to transmission, the data is reviewed for timeliness, accuracy and completeness (e.g., title, author, pub date) to meet the BISG requirements.
Digital Storage and Distribution
S&S and other publishers are benefiting from the flexibility afforded to them by digital storage and distribution. The files used to create the original, traditional printed version are also used to create additional printed and electronic formats. When demand for a book has slowed to the point it is no longer economical to manufacture using traditional printing methods, the book then becomes available through print-on-demand (POD) technology, saving valuable warehouse space and, at the same time, shifting the business model for these titles to sell first, print later.
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.