How to Find the Right Tool for the Job

How to Find the Right Tool for the Job“What you have to understand about us,” says every publisher ever, “is that we are a little bit different. We’re not like everyone else.”

“I talk to a wide range of publishers about their workflow and processes,” Emma Barnes writes in a blog post for Digital Book World, “and it’s true that each publisher’s route to market is crafted to suit their particular style, culture, genre and habit. But there are, however, some overriding themes that emerge across publishing programs. And there are discrete types of tools that can be usefully applied at different points along that workflow.”

“The earliest part of the publishing process is also the vaguest. The sketchiest editorial ideas exist in commissioning editors’ heads and notebooks; ideas for new projects emerge in scattered conversations at conferences, in pubs, on emails,” Barnes continues. “Systems that allow you to capture the essence without much detail are useful here—but which ideally can be added to as the idea grows and takes on a more solid form.”

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U.S. Book Publishing Industry Stats from Nielsen (Joe Wikert)
Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 is in the rearview mirror, but there were a few noteworthy tidbits gleaned from the event. Some of the more important facts and figures were shared by Nielsen’s Jonathan Stolper in his state-of-the-U.S.-market presentation. Although you can argue Nielsen’s data isn’t complete and it’s therefore far from perfect, it’s one of the few resources available for market trends and analysis. With that in mind, here are the most interesting points I saw in Stolper’s presentation.

Can You Promote a Book Without Making Yourself Miserable? (Jane Friedman)
Almost every author I know jumps into book marketing with very mixed feelings. Authors are committed to the long, slow process of writing, so the fast-paced, socially awkward, time-sensitive demands of promotion prove difficult and draining for many authors. Even worse than that, many new authors know next to nothing about marketing and feel slimy when jumping into it, but we’re still tempted to measure our personal worth and the value of our books based on our sales numbers.

Advertising’s Hidden Design and Its Impact on Our Culture (Seth Godin)
Media changes everything. Media drives our expectations, our conversations and our culture. And what drives the media? Ads. Two kinds, it turns out: brand ads and direct ads. Brand ads are the unmeasurable, widely seen ads you generally think of when you think of an ad. A billboard, a TV commercial, an imprinted mug. Direct ads, on the other hand, are action-oriented and measurable. Infomercials, mail order catalogs and many sorts of digital media are considered direct marketing. It takes guts to be a brand marketer.

Apple Announces iPad Pro Availability (TechCrunch)
Ever wanted a giant iPad? Well, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro will be available for purchase in 40 countries starting on Wednesday, November 11th. It will first be available online with retail stores getting the device later in the week. The Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard will also be available on Wednesday. Pricing starts at $799 for the base model, which ships with 32GB of internal memory. For $1,079, buyers can opt for the model that rocks both WiFi and cellular connectivity and 128GB of memory.

YouTube, BookTube…PublisherTube? (Porter Anderson)
What publishing needs to think about, worry about, do about all this is being avidly explored by many in the industry, but maybe more intensely than most by the digital marketing group at London’s Pan Macmillan, one of the “Big Five” houses that dwarf most other book-industry operations. Hired by “PanMac” digital and communications director Sara Lloyd, the digital marketing specialist Naomi Bacon has taken the lead there, with a quick grasp of how the appeal of the YouTube celebrity works and thus an early look at the kind of fandom the bookish world may well need to explore in order to cultivate badly needed new audience members in its worldwide readership.

Readers Will Shape the Future (Bookseller)
Academic texts, and platforms for disseminating academic texts, have changed faster and more fundamentally than any other sector of the bookselling market. Academic texts today encompass printed paper books and online digital learning; Open Access journals and peer-reviewed blog posts; text that is fixed and text that is infinitely flexible. Some academic resources may not be delivered in words at all; text to speech transcripts; image; sound or video. Equally, the exchange of currency that makes academic publication possible has evolved in tandem with publication methods. Publication is as likely today to be financed at the source as part of a research proposal, by a host institution, or by the author, as it is to be funded by post-publication purchase.

SpotlightSourceHOV on Automating Metadata Extraction (Pub Perspectives)
We believe that AI is a game-changing technology that will revolutionize the way publishers manage their content. Machine learning technology is at a point where it can deliver significant value and, for example, obviate the need for publishers to manually identify, tag and convert academic journal front matter from author manuscripts. The obvious advantage, other than significant cost savings, is that publishers are able to rapidly publish their metadata to their partners.

University Presses in Decline… Not So Fast (Scholarly Kitchen)
It is not hard to find plenty of articles, post and comments about the gradual decline of university presses. But for those who care to look more deeply, there’s a new narrative emerging. Like all publishers, university presses are facing their fair share of challenges, but many are successfully redefining their role in the digital age. There is a flourishing of innovation and renewed energy as individual presses chart their paths into the future and an increasing number diverge from business as usual. In celebration of University Press Week, we asked six “pop-up Chefs” to tell us what they think are the unique contributions that university presses make to scholarship and scholarly communication.

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