Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
My company, LibreDigital, developed the HARVEST digital asset distribution platform to deliver hundreds of thousands of ebook titles and their metadata to markets around the globe each year. This system has evolved to be something much more sophisticated than the simple file-slinging services of old, as the smart automation underpinning HARVEST allows publishers to be more proactive than ever before by, in the words of one publisher, ”bringing a new set of capabilities to respond to market opportunities.”
We decided to take a close look at how publishers use HARVEST as a tool to enable sales and business growth.
Metadata-Driven Distribution Rules
With a large catalogue appropriate for different markets, many publishers are increasingly interested in refining their deliveries by channel or market vertical. The motivations range from more accurately targeting sales opportunities to adhering to the legal requirements of territorial rights. In response, many publishers want to preset their market deliveries by triggers, such as imprint, BISAC, territory rights or discount code, among others. Doing so, and then making adjustments, can be challenging or impossible to achieve without the proper automated tool to help.
Metadata-driven distribution rules allow a publisher to define specific delivery rules per channel based on any ONIX field, and even by publishers’ proprietary codes.
For example, not all global retailers can be relied upon to read and adhere to the territory rights within an ONIX feed. So publishers can now ensure compliance by predefining deliveries to individual channels based on the relevant ONIX field. Likewise, this capability is used to target deliveries to academic channels based on the discount codes in the metadata.
Dynamic Pricing & Local Currencies
Publishers are finding they can drive sales by pricing titles more dynamically, taking advantage of retailer-specific price promotions and new pricing strategies, and utilizing local currencies. This often means refreshing and distributing metadata on a nearly daily basis. To accomplish this, though, they need title metadata that is enhanced beyond standard requirements as well as a system to streamline and speed the delivery to global channels. Many have found the solution in an automated metadata normalization and optimization function within HARVEST.
In this process, standard ONIX data is automatically normalized to create a “gold standard” dataset in the system. This dataset can then be augmented to include elements required for all major channels. Prior to delivery, the metadata is further optimized for the specific requirements of that channel or vertical.
One common use case is the need to automatically remove pricing meant for one specific retailer from the same ONIX feed sent to other retailers. Having accomplished this, publishers now have vastly improving pricing options with faster speed to market.
Digital Pick, Pack and Ship
Ebook special sales opportunities can be both a blessing and a curse. The process of fulfilling these sales opportunities often falls outside of the operations team’s standard workflow and can be quite time-consuming. In the physical world, you send someone into the warehouse to find the titles, pack them into boxes and prepare them for shipping. And it can be just as labor-intensive and time-consuming in the digital world.
This process is significantly easier when the proper toolset is available from the beginning. It starts by properly tagging each digital asset on the way into the system to aid identification and retrieval afterwards. It is also important to have a UI that gives you the option of creating a new package recipient quickly, even if they are for one-time delivery only.
The process then becomes straightforward and manageable: submit a manifest (spreadsheet with ISBNs) into the system, confirm the titles for shipment, select the target for delivery, or create a new one quickly—and hit send.
In this case, publishers are able to quickly and seamlessly capture ebook special sales opportunities that they may have had to bypass before.
The Benefits of Automating Digital Asset Distribution
The days of pushing ebooks and vanilla product data to global channels and hoping for the best are over. Today’s marketplace calls for the effective use of metadata as a critical enabler of discovery and sales. And these next level capabilities require a system that is capable of incorporating the smart use of automation. Take a closer look at how a more automated asset and metadata delivery system can help you improve sales and capture new global opportunities.
To learn more about the HARVEST digital asset distribution platform, download LibreDigital’s free white paper, “The Value of Excellence in Digital Operations.”
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