The State of the Industry
Thinking of their content that way gives them flexibility—that's where the greatest opportunities will be, where the content can be automatically translated into different languages [for example], and it doesn't rely on the software, it relies on the content itself.
A great example of a company that is really smart in this way is Encyclopedia Britannica. Traditionally, nothing could have been more boring than an old set of text-heavy encyclopedias. But they've done such a great job of expanding online, and taking their products into other countries and packaging it in ways that are really interesting. In countries like Japan, they [sell] these cards you can buy, where you can get 10 minutes of encyclopedia time. There are all different ways the information could be available in all different markets.
Robin Bartlett on medical publishing
Robin Bartlett is the president of the American Medical Publishers Association, an industry association representing members from the world's top medical publishers, including Elsevier, Blackwell, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, John Wiley & Sons, McGraw-Hill Health Division, Oxford University Press and the American Medical Association Press. Bartlett is also the director of sales and new business development at the American College of Physicians in Philadelphia.
Can you give a 'state-of-the-industry' summary of medical publishing?
The thing that has happened in the last two or three years is a tremendous amount of consolidation … This has had [an enormous] impact on industry associations, because when one company gobbles up another, you no longer have two members; it's cut down to one.
For the last five years, the industry has undergone an extreme catharsis, and it [affects] medical publishers in many ways. The best example is that most medical publishers have been using independent distributors to get their books to book stores, and there traditionally have been four players in that marketplace. One has gone out of business, and the other was recently acquired by Baker and Taylor, the large library distribution company. So it effectively brings it down to two companies left in the distribution arena, with the number of options for distribution drastically reduced. …