In an age of instant information access, professional and scholarly publishers have to get smarter when developing products to fit audience workflows. Simply having a large catalogue of titles is no longer enough; from finance to education to STM, users expect information to be tailored to their day-to-day needs and priorities. Meeting these requirements can spell the difference between a successful product and a dud.
It used to be straightforward. A publisher sent out a catalog of new releases, promoting certain titles to bookstores. Marketing proceeded through fixed channels and seasonal rituals, and, year after year, everyone knew their place in the dance. Not so anymore.
When it comes to improving the supply chain function in book publishing, the watchword is communication—between various components of the chain, and especially between manufacturing, distribution and retail. Saying this, however, is not saying nearly enough, as the quality of information and the way it’s used matter just as much as making the right connections. “Communication is the No. 1 supply chain issue,” says Rich Eby, director of inbound distribution at Thomson Learning, the Stamford, Conn.-based provider of educational, training and reference books for academic and corporate customers. For Thomson, that means anticipating shipments from manufacturers around the world for distribution in the