Major Book Publisher Named Innovator of the Year by PubExec and BookBiz Mags

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PRESS RELEASE:

Hachette Book Group and Flipboard Selected as Publishing Innovators of the Year

PHILADELPHIA, PA — March 1, 2012 — PublishingExecutive and BookBusiness magazines have announced that leading U.S. book publisher Hachette Book Group (HBG) and “social magazine” Flipboard have been selected as the prestigious 2011 Publishing Innovators of the Year. The Innovator awards are given annually by Publishing Executive and Book Business—leading publications covering the magazine and book publishing industries, respectively—to recognize significant efforts and achievements in publishing innovation.

HBG and Flipboard join the ranks of Esquire, Time Inc., Bonnier Corp., HarperCollins, Harlequin and Scholastic, which are former recipients of the prestigious award.

The Publishing Innovators of the Year will be recognized during the Publishing Business Conference and Expo, March 19-21, at the New York Marriott Marquis, Times Square.

Hachette Book Group:
Owned by Hachette Livre, the second largest publisher in the world, HBG publishes nearly 1,000 adult, children’s and audio book titles annually. The company has a stated focus on “experimentation and innovation,” says Ralph Munsen, CIO of HBG. “Our goal is to deliver to the consumer the best reading experience, and the most exciting and up to date content, and we’re also helping our clients use our technology to publish more effectively in digital.”

This goal has driven the company to the innovations for which Book Business is recognizing it as Publishing Innovator of the Year.

“In an era of publishing when so many changes are taking place so rapidly, innovation is imperative, but often extremely difficult to achieve,” says Noelle Skodzinski, editorial director for Book Business magazine, and program director for the Publishing Business Conference & Expo. “Hachette Book Group has made innovation a priority. It is taking action to quickly address—both internally and externally—the changing consumer-content-consumption habits across multiple platforms. It is this spirit of innovation that the Publishing Innovator of Year Awards recognize, and HBG was this year’s obvious choice in book publishing among the nearly 100 nominations we received.”

Kenneth Michaels, Hachette Book Group COO, says, “The transformation of our industry has challenged us all to think creatively about how to serve authors and customers in new ways. We are very pleased that theBook Business magazine staff has recognized Hachette Book Group’s innovative spirit and achievements.  We’re excited about the new opportunities to deliver our authors’ work to as many readers on as many platforms as possible, and will continue to move in bold new directions to achieve that goal.”

One aspect of innovation that was taken into consideration by the Book Business editorial staff and editorial advisory board in selecting HBG for this prestigious award is its patent-pending product to eliminate the moiré effect—moiré is the noticeable, unwanted pattern generated by scanning or resizing a piece of art that contains a dot pattern. HBG has created a process to eliminate the moiré from print material when displayed on screens such as iPad or iPhones. HBG’s moiré effect project impacts the entire backlit display market for halftone books.

The company also has made significant strides in multichannel publishing workflow processes, with its newly created templates—or reusable technical and creative architecture—that allow mobile apps to be produced with limited investment and maximum creative flexibility. It also is making use of its recently created Hachette Digital Platform (HDP) to maintain content across interactive digital assets simultaneously, and track and analyze customer habits and engagement.

“My own view is that mobile is as big a game-changer today as the Web was 15 years ago, and it seems to me that Hachette is taking that challenge seriously, coming up with good solutions, and ought to be recognized for that,” comments John Morse, president/publisher, Merriam-Webster Inc. and a member of the Book Business editorial advisory board, who was involved in the Publishing Innovator Award selection process.

Jabin White, vice president of content management, ITHAKA, and another Book Business advisory board member, notes, “[HBG] seems to have innovated more on the ‘process’ and product side of things, and I like the way they are approaching things by completely re-thinking delivery methods, workflow, and procedures (which sometimes results in different kinds of products, but sometimes just makes things more efficient).”

Flipboard:
“[Flipboard] is a game-changer as far as how publishing will be consumed in the future,” said one member of Publishing Executive magazine’s editorial advisory board in casting his vote for Flipboard as Publishing Innovator of the Year.
Launched in mid 2010, Flipboard made headlines worldwide with its new, customizable content aggregation and social media platform. The difference, however, between Flipboard and other content aggregation platforms, was Flipboard’s presentation and interaction capabilities. Users can essentially pull in Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds, magazine and newspaper content, and have it presented to them in a magazine-like format on their digital devices, such as the iPad and smartphones. According to the company, Flipboard was “inspired by the beauty of print and the simple action of flipping pages.”
“I appreciate the level of customization based on consumer interest,” says Traci L. Lucien, vice president of Media Operations Support for AARP.
“To my mind, Flipboard is Innovator of the Year because they have created a very compelling reading experience on the iPhone,” says David Granger, a Publishing Executive board member and the Editor in Chief of previous Publishing Innovator of the Year recipient Esquire. “They’ve managed to present up-to-the-second news and entertainment in a really palatable way. I’m not yet sure how Esquire, or the dozens and dozens of other publishers Flipboard has partnered with, take advantage of it in a way that is a game-changer. But as part of our goal is to share our ideas with as broad a swath of the world as possible, it’s an effective way to take advantage of the mobile Web that is also aesthetically pleasing.”
“We’re thrilled to be among such distinguished company,” says Josh Quittner, editorial director at Flipboard. “We look forward to continuing to innovate shoulder to shoulder with our partners in the publishing world.”
In 2011, the company made significant strides toward working more closely with publishers, many of whom have had concerns about emerging content aggregators being yet another type of business built on the backs of publishers’ content.
Flipboard now has partnership arrangements with 70 publishers and counting, according to Christel van der Boom, spokesperson for Flipboard.
“We work with publishers to design their Web pages into digital magazine pages and create an entirely new type of advertising inventory for the Web, more akin to print advertising,” explains Van der Boom.
“In the model we are developing, our publisher partners own the relationship with advertisers. We support their ad sales team wherever we can. Some of these partners have already started selling full-page advertising in their sections. Some examples: Vanity Fair is running Nieman Marcus ads, there are Volkswagen ads in USA Today, Lexus in Condé Nast titles. … We receive a share of the revenue,” she explains.
“Flipboard is the first non-traditional ‘publisher’ that has been selected to receive the Publishing Innovator of the Year award,” says Skodzinski, who is also editorial director for Publishing Executive magazine. “But it was clear in the discussions with our staff and board members that Flipboard absolutely deserves recognition for the innovations it has brought to the world of publishing, for many of which we’ve only begun to see the implications. And, its early efforts to develop a viable financial model for itself as well as publishers make it stand out even more as a true innovator that is initiating a smart business model to share trusted, branded content with consumers on a global basis.”
For more information about the Publishing Business Conference & Expo, or to register, visit http://www.publishingbusiness.com.

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