The Corner Office: A ‘Professional’ Approach to Multiformat Publishing
Philip Ruppel and McGraw-Hill Professional (MHP)—the publishing company for which Ruppel serves as president—arrived early to the digital party, participating in many initial e-book launches, such as the Rocket eBook e-reader in 1998, and adapting MHP's internal structure for a print-digital integration years prior to the current e-explosion. Today, the company—which is part of The McGraw-Hill Cos. and includes four core publishing programs: McGraw-Hill Business, Medical, Technical and Education—offers more than 5,000 books in e-book format, has produced more than 120 mobile apps, and continues to experiment with new digital offerings.
For example, in April 2010, the publisher introduced a new line of e-books called Selected Essentials—50- to 100-page original works by MHP authors. Some Selected Essentials are sold exclusively through Amazon's Kindle Store, while other titles are exclusive to Barnes & Noble's Nook Store, with each retailer promoting its respective titles.
However, even for an early digital adopter such as MHP, rapidly advancing technologies and a book marketplace in flux still present many business challenges and new publishing waters to navigate. Ruppel spoke with Book Business about these challenges and what he believes are the keys to keeping pace with a shifting book publishing landscape.
● What is your biggest challenge right now as president of a major publisher?
Philip Ruppel: The biggest challenge for me—and I imagine for other publishers as well—is the very rapid migration from print to digital. At McGraw-Hill, we foresaw this trend years before, so our systems, processes and content are very much adapted for the new digital world. But even so, the speed at which our customers are demanding information in digital format versus print format is dramatic. And that speed has broad implications for many parts of our business. The print book is not dead, but we need to be flexible enough to respond to new digital opportunities.