Planning was also critical for the CD-ROM manufacturing. To make the schedule work, CD-ROM manufacturing had to be accomplished between the April 15 delivery of the golden master and May 1, when the books were to be cased in and ready for CD-ROM insertion.
For this we relied on Failsafe Media Co., Lake Zurich, Ill. Thanks to sufficient advance planning, they were able to deliver more than 300,000 CD-ROMs within the two-week period.
The third principle: Maintain good communication and close coordination among the text creation, print production, electronic production, and manufacturing teams.
We achieved this, in part, through periodic meetings and reports that reviewed schedules and task lists. More important, however, was focusing everyone's attention on the shared goal of simultaneously launching a cross-media publication.
We have worked to build a culture of cooperation, collaboration, and respect for the needs of others at Merriam-Webster. In this atmosphere, managers with concerns raise them early. The concerns are listened to, and creative solutions sought. In the end, everyone shares the credit. And that's how the job gets done.
Publishing cross-media products is a challenge; one we all would probably avoid if we could. But some books, and especially reference books such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, exist in the Age of Also.
As such, the decision to produce these titles cross-media can't be avoided. Readers want access to these titles and their data in multiple forms, across multiple publishing platforms.
Successful publishers will find ways to meet that need, despite the dearth of end-to-end cross-media publishing tools.
John M. Morse is president and publisher of Merriam-Webster Inc. He can be reached at President@Merriam-Webster.com.