Distribution Goes Digital
“Each year, we move closer toward the vision of the future,” Potash said, referring to universal access to digital content, as he announced the development of new Open Publication Structure (OPS) and Open Container Structure (OCS) device-independent e-book formatting and delivery standards at IDPF’s Digital Book 2007 conference in May.
Reinforcing the importance of standards in metadata, Michael Healy, executive director of BISG, urged the industry at BISG’s Making Information Pay conference to apply Online Information Exchange (ONIX) international data standards in transmitting title information.
Waiting in the wings to build on data integrity/standards and availability are radio frequency identification (RFID) applications for the book industry. Industry consultant Jim Lichtenberg, president of Lightspeed LLC, led a BISG-sponsored panel at BookExpo in which applications of this technology were demonstrated. A chip embedded in the cover of a book, providing nothing more than a coded ISBN or some other identifier, can enable instant determination of inventories and register sales, and locate misplaced items—to cite a few applications along the supply chain.
Digital asset distribution is a supply chain link defined by the functions it performs, the technologies it relies on and the businesses that provide its services. The DAD can be an outsourced third party or an in-house business unit (analogous to the print product distribution and fulfillment capabilities larger publishers have developed for themselves and may offer to other publishers as well).
While bits and bytes in packets of data have been moving around the global Internet pipelines for less than 25 years in the commercial form we now know, it is hard to believe that serious attention has been paid to digital formatting for commercial use by traditional publishers for only 10 years or so. But for a process whose timelines are defined by nanoseconds, bringing definition to its supply chain channels has emerged none too soon.
- 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.