Distribution Goes Digital
Offspring of the DAM (digital asset management) systems of the 1990s that have been stifling easy distribution of digital assets through rights management software wrapped around content, the new vocabulary provides an opportunity to focus on getting content out into revenue-producing information streams.
In fact, Shatzkin observes, the increasing need to be certain that accurate metadata about book titles, publishers and authors accompanies content will doubtless generate MUMs (“managers of unlimited metadata—to work with the DADs to round out the solution,” he says).
The solution to digital asset distribution is orderly definition, structuring and aggregating of technologies, functions and services that will characterize the digital supply chain. It is the new definition of DADs that provides the key supply chain linkages for this new industry workflow and value-added channel. (You can see how the digital asset distribution supply chain works in the chart below.)
The DAD, according to Shatzkin, “will have to offer a pretty complete service: storing publishers’ assets, converting them to different formats, providing DRM [digital rights management] as required, and successfully delivering them to platforms and Web sites of every description,” he says. “Although some large publishers with pretty substantial capabilities of their own might pick one DAD for one digital service and another for a different one, most publishers who need a DAD will want one to handle everything for them.”
Among the DADs Shatzkin mentions are The University of Chicago Press’ BiblioVault; codeMantra’s conversion house; HarperCollins’ use of NewsStand Inc./LibreDigital for its digital warehouse; Ingram Digital (see my column in Book Business’ April issue for a flowchart of Ingram Digital’s services); Macmillan’s BookStore; Random House; and Value Chain International. A serious new entry announced at BookExpo America 2007 is Macmillan Publishing Solutions’ MPS Macmobile, a wireless application protocol (WAP)-enabled Internet-based delivery system for content in all formats to any portable-device platform. (See page 10 for more about MPS Macmobile.)
- 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.