Distribution Goes Digital
In other words, others were building business models on publishers’ content and taking charge of its use. Publishers with major investments in backlists realized that control of how content was used and presented would be slipping out of their hands. They also saw how reading circles (TheBookReportNetwork.com), blogs (PersonaNonData.blogspot.com), social networks (MySpace.com/HarperTeen) and communities of interest (BabyCenter.com) lead to buzz and to printed-book sales. Being able to push their product into as many Internet communities as possible, controlling both the terms and the finesse of its use while encouraging more widespread access than before, could be a win for everyone.
And so, within a year, there emerged HarperCollins’ Browse Inside (HarperCollins.com/book/browseinsidemain.aspx) and Random House’s Insight (RandomHouse.biz/webservices/insight)—each connecting their digital archives to their newly named and soon-to-be-ubiquitous widgets. These electronic windows can be dropped onto anyone’s Web site and will provide instant access to the publisher’s entire library of titles.
It will not be long before every publisher will be offering a widget of their own, or will be part of a collaborative widget service, and the need for traffic management will set in—after all, how many widgets will Web sites host or browsers separately link to as users pursue their interests? Ingram Digital Services, because of its digital content management and distribution capabilities, would appear to be the logical candidate for the first such widget service to publishers. However, it would make sense for any of the digital management services, such as OverDrive, to do so.
From DAMs to DADs and Beyond
So we now come to the new digital asset (DA) alphabet soup of the moment: DAP, DAD and DAR—for producers (P), distributors (D) and recipients (R). These acronyms were created by Shatzkin and another consultant, Mark Bide, for a study conducted by international publishing-software and consulting-services supplier Klopotek, which has published the results as a white paper (Klopotek.com).
- Books24x7 Inc.
- Ebrary Inc.
- Independent Publishers Group
- Ingram Digital
- Libre Digital
- Lightning Source Inc.
- Lightspeed LLC
- Macmillan Publishing Solutions
- NewsStand Inc.
- Overdrive Inc.
- Publishing Dimensions
- Random House Inc.
- The Book Industry Study Group
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.