Creating Online Products with Bottom-Line Impact
For Roger Hall, determining how to extend a successful print publishing business online is no academic exercise. Hall, the senior vice president of scholarly book and journal publisher Haworth Press, has overseen the expansion of the company’s operations from a handful of publications to more than 100 books and 226 quarterly journals.
Hall says Haworth succeeds because the company identifies social, behavioral and library science niches, among others, and uses a flexible printing strategy to extract the maximum return from small print runs.
“You don’t need to have 20,000 subscribers to a journal to make a profitable business,” Hall says. “Four hundred to 600 subscribers can be a successful journal.”
Hall says Haworth is able to turn a profit on small print runs because the company has maintained its own printing facility in Kirkwood, N.Y. for more than 20 years.
“Having our own press really gives us an opportunity to experiment, since we are not tied to specific run lengths. The print jobs could be 100 or 10,000, it doesn’t matter,” Hall says.
Creating Digital Suites
After 20 years of mastering putting words onto paper, Haworth decided it was time to learn the art of electronic publishing, which changed the way the company thinks about deadlines.
“Publishers can no longer breathe easier after the printing starts,” Hall says. “Today when you put ink to paper, you are only half done.”
Haworth had a few years’ experience with digital files and producing Web-ready files such as PDFs when it decided to create electronic versions of its journals five years ago. Initially, its electronic strategy only included providing free online versions of its content to subscribers. Then, the company expanded to sell individual articles through an online document delivery service. However, the majority of its customers—85 percent—are academic libraries that more often subscribe to journals than make single-article purchases.