Technology Forces Us to Ask, "What Has Changed & What Is the Same?"
Depending on your point of view, digital technology has either undermined or enabled the book publishing industry. Either way, there's no denying that digital technology has changed publishing. Change is constant, inevitable, and often irreversible. So it goes.
In this second installment of the Book Business Technology Issue we look at the crossroads at which technology and change meet in the book industry. In "How Book Publishers are Transforming From Within," we explore how publishers are spurring and managing change internally. Based on a panel from the Book Business Live: Executive Summit on Digital Publishing, technology innovators from McGraw-Hill Education, Hachette, and Pearson discuss how they are adapting to The New Era of Book Publishing.
The Buyer's Guide is intended to be a tool that can help publishers navigate this new era, offering an overview of the most pressing technology of the day. We've divided this year's guide into four sections -- Ebook & App Solutions, Digital Conversion & Workflow Services, Marketing Automation & Email Marketing, and Ecommerce. We have included vendor listings to aid publishers in their searches for technology solutions.
It's clear that the audiobook sector has been enabled and buoyed by mobile technology. APA executive director Michele Cobb examines where audiobooks have been and where they're headed next. In "How Book Publishers Can Harness the 'Closed-Loop Power' of Mobile Technology" Matthew Gartland argues that book publishers have yet to fully embrace mobile technology and use it to their advantage. Gartland sees great opportunity here.
And it's hard not to be inspired by Bethlam Forsa's vision for a technology-enabled future of the education publishing space. As president of Pearson's learning services, Forsa is counting on adaptive learning and data-based assessment tools to revolutionize education -- and change the world for the better.
None of this is to say that digital technologies haven't caused book publishers problems. The fragmented nature of book -- or more generally, content -- consumption has frustrated many a publisher. In "Multi-Channel Publishing: A Case Study," Scott Abel and Richard L. Hamilton present a possible model for the future of publishing workflows and content distribution.
So where does all this technological disruption leave the craft of book publishing? Well that's yet to be fully determined. Despite its capsule or distribution method, in many cases a book is still a book, it's power and value unchanged by technology. Education is still measured by how effective it is in helping people learn. Finding these constants amongst an industry in flux can certainly be a task.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.