I was recently able to sit down with Rodney Elder, Executive Vice President for North America for Virtusales Publishing Solutions, to discuss a number of topics related to Digital Book World 2018 and Virtusales' involvement...including about DBW’s exciting new format this year, why Virtusales is bringing its North American annual customer day to DBW, and how technology needs to adapt to meet the changes in today’s publishing landscape.
So for those who may not know Virtusales, what is the Biblio suite of software and what type of publishing is it designed for?
The Biblio suite is an advanced publishing management system available in the Cloud, that provides all types of publishers with a single publishing system at the heart of their business. Biblio is a modular system which allows publishers to create, produce, market, sell, financially control and pay royalties on any type of product in any form from the intellectual property that they own or manage for others. It provides functionality to support publishers with pre-acquisition estimating and forecasting, throughout the editorial process generating metadata and ONIX feeds, with sales and marketing, production, contracts, rights and royalty calculations and payments.
Our software is designed exclusively for the publishing industry and we work with publishers in all sectors from trade, educational and academic commercial publishers, to university presses and non-profit organizations. Biblio’s publishing systems run the processes for some of the world’s leading publishers, including Penguin Random House, Hachette, Macmillan Publishers, Bloomsbury, Harvard University Press, Princeton University Press, Verso and Quirk Books.
At Digital Book World our focus is on where technology intersects with the wide world of publishing, from trade to academic and professional.
What do you think the big trends in publishing are at the moment, and what questions should publishers be asking of their technology right now?
For trade publishers the audio market has been booming for some time now. In the latest sales figures reported by Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller, audio sales were up 22.7% percent in America last year and and have doubled in the UK in the last five years. This of course means publishers are exploring new business models such as subscription sales, as well as having to streamline their workflows to produce even more formats simultaneously and maintain more metadata and files following publication.
The other key buzzword in publishing that we’ve been hearing for a while now is content. Publishers across all sectors are finding themselves looking for new ways to repurpose their content and publish it in new forms. For academic publishers, the focus is more towards content-first publishing with articles, chapters and statistics delivered ahead of a full journal issue or monograph. For trade publishers, content pieces are arguably a newer concept, but driven as it is by competition from non-publishing sources like Netflix, Buzzfeed, Amazon and social media, it’s exciting to see how publishers are inventing new ways to package and distribute their content beyond the confines of the printed or digital book.
When fundamental changes like these hit the publishing industry the key question for publishers has to be whether their technology is adaptable and flexible enough to support them. Publishers need technology that doesn’t impede their ability to push new boundaries and make innovative publishing decisions. Investing in technology that can easily change to meet market trends as they evolve will be both liberating, and critical to staying ahead of the competition.
In order to be able to react quickly in future, it makes sense to review existing workflows and tools now and start asking whether they are flexible enough to support multiple formats, new product types, and can be tailored to support the creation, production, sales and royalties of all intellectual property in whatever format that may be in, from audio to individual pieces of content such as chapters, articles, images and even video.
How is Virtusales working to support publishers who are looking to capitalize on these emerging trends?
The Biblio suite has a rapid release cycle that delivers new features and enhancements every 6-8 weeks ensuring our client publishers are able to meet the latest consumer and industry needs.
Audio products are fully supported within Biblio, and I’ll be speaking at DBW about best practice for audio publishing and workflows on the panel session Best Practices In Creation and Distribution of Audiobooks. Biblio has a number of tools to support the increased volumes of data that arise from publishing more and more formats, with batch update tools, multiple pricing models, automated workflows, alerts and collaborative working features.
At the core of Biblio’s design is a centralized system that streamlines publishers’ workflows, from synchronizing metadata across different products, to integrating that data with digital files such as eBooks, audio files and content items for distribution to websites, retailers, aggregators and suppliers. By storing those files directly in Biblio, it becomes easy to search through backlists and collate published materials in order to repurpose that content into new products and projects.
Biblio users can acquire, produce and distribute individual content items such as chapters, images, and articles as well as traditional books, eBooks, journals and products, enabling publishers to really challenge existing publishing models with new, innovative ideas.
Where can we find Virtusales at Digital Book World and what will you be talking about this year?
We’ll be talking about how our software enables publishers to manage all products and formats in the same system whether that’s books, journals, eBooks, audio, content or even new formats yet to come. New formats present publishers with more opportunities, and Biblio gives publishers a tool to manage their content and licences in a perfect circle, starting with acquisition, sales and marketing, then through production and scheduling to managing rights, analyzing sales data and generating royalty statements. We’ll be available throughout Digital Book World and you can talk to us on stand 301 where a number of our publishing specialists will be on hand to talk to publishers about their individual business needs.
I’m excited to be taking part in the panel Best Practices In Creation and Distribution of Audiobooks on Wednesday as well, where I’ll be offering some guidance on using technology to streamline workflows and enrich metadata for audio publishing.
We’ve also decided to host our customer day at Digital Book World this year for the first time, and are delighted to bring our customers together here to discuss the latest changes in the publishing industry, whilst also showcasing some of the latest key developments we’ve released, and looking ahead to our plans for the future.
We love what Virtusales is doing and are excited to partner with you to host your customer day at DBW 2018. What made you relocate your event to DBW?
We’re always keen to be a part of publishing events globally and in particular with Digital Book World, as it really highlights the importance of all aspects of technology in publishing. At Virtusales we have been supporting market-leading publishers globally for 18 years now, and in that time have constantly evolved and adapted our technology to respond quickly to market trends and the changing needs of the industry. As such, we want to remain at the forefront of digital publishing trends to ensure our product stays ahead of the market - which makes Digital Book World such an important event to us.
We hope that having our customer day here will give our publishing clients an extra reason to travel to DBW and benefit from some of the excellent talks and panels that are billed in this year’s program.