SPECIAL REPORT: Embracing the ‘Kindle Effect’
Such upheavals demand innovations in both traditional supply chain efficiency and in the way the new digital supply chain operates, says Michael Healy, executive director, BISG.
Healy points out that the fragmentation of content into different forms as it goes digital creates the need for a new identification system to make this new supply chain work as efficiently as possible.
Recognition of this challenge is “growing and growing slowly,” he says, though mostly among larger publishers.
A BISG-sponsored discussion paper, “The Identification of Digital Book Content” (available at www.BISG.org), recommends retention of ISBN, along with the adoption of a digital object identifier (DOI) to facilitate the discovery of content on the Web, and a new standard text code to track various products emanating from a textual work. The BISG formed a digital standards committee with the AAP last year to develop specific standards for how digital publications should be searched and retrieved.
Explosive growth in title output across multiple formats also means quality product information is more important than ever, Healy adds.
“In a market … in which online retailers like Amazon.com and BN.com can give equal ‘display space’ to both a front-list title and a deep backlist title, the quality of product information is very important,” he says. “A title without a jacket image, or review, or description is severely disadvantaged in this setting.”
As part of a program scheduled to be launched this month, the BISG has developed best-practice standards for product information. As with efforts to improve marketing, these moves are directed at breaking down barriers between product and consumer, more critical than ever in light of ever-increasing media platforms competing for shrinking attention spans.
“It’s going to be a tough road for publishers overall because of the vast amount of competition with media and the opportunities for people and how they engage with it,” Gallagher says. “To me, that’s the ongoing challenge—the proliferation of choice.”