Standing out of the ‘noise‘ of the market
The new king announced in September 2016
In an article called “Discoverability: The New King of Publishing”, Anders Breinholst wrote in September 2016 for www.digitalbookworld.com:
Consumers are overwhelmed by the choices they have in front of them, as the abundance of content makes it difficult for them to find the right product. As a publisher, it can be equally difficult to reach relevant consumers amidst this sea of content. You can avoid getting lost in all the noise, however, with a discovery strategy.
He stressed that “last year, an estimated 500,000-plus English-language books were published” and goes on to argue: “Quality content has always been the top priority of successful publishers. However, with growing sales through online retailers, a book’s discoverability has become nearly as important.”
The ‘noise’ of 2010 … referring to the darkness of ‘obscurity’: a problem named as early as in 2002
In 2010, in a joint presentation of Taylor & Francis and Klopotek at the Publishers’ Forum, a Klopotek-sponsored annual conference on the future of the publishing industry, Mark Majurey, Digital Development Director for Taylor & Francis, explained that “without full and complete metadata and without the capability to output and feed that metadata to the digital supply chain, our titles are destined to be lost in the noise of the market.” (watch the video here)
Mark also named the source for most of the related statements, which dates back to 2002: “Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.” – Tim O’Reilly. One of his conclusions for the Taylor & Francis Group – a long-term customer of Klopotek – was: “metadata is the key to success.”
2012: the ‘Content’ vs ‘container’ problem
Noise (of the market) and sea (of content) … – another word for the problem at hand, also used in Anders’ blog contribution, is “abundance” (of content). In 2012, in a presentation called “Context first, revisited”, Brian O’Leary, a frequent speaker at the Publishers’ Forum, pointed out that “content abundance places pressure on publishers to find new and more effective ways to market content products.” In a comment to the first time he gave this presentation, he explained, “I do argue that we have entered an era of content abundance and that those who want to have their content discovered (and bought) will have to work differently to compete.”
Brian stressed that the way we think about publishing is often still “unduly governed by the nature of the container – the physical book.” A different C-word, in his opinion, should help to free content (in the digital age) from this container: context. Publishers should “ensure that they can develop and maintain context throughout the publishing process.”
2013-2014: calls for an ‘open’ ‘pre-book’ world
In 2013, Brian O’Leary further elaborated on his concept of putting ‘context’ first. At the Publishers’ Forum, he stressed: ‘To market effectively on the web, publishers must relinquish their traditional roles as ‘gatekeepers, aggregating demand’. Instead, publishers need to learn how to disaggregate supply, meeting demand whenever and however it arises.”
Brian asked publishers to move beyond what he called “’boundedness’”, toward a “pre-book world” which is not closed (and finished) but “open, accessible, interoperable.” Otherwise, he went on to say, ‘discovery’ (of content) cannot be fostered, which is, after all, vital to publishers.
Started in 2004, named in 2014: networking instead of gatekeeping
Helmut von Berg, who was a Director at Klopotek and – as its co-founder – responsible for the Publishers’ Forum for many years, created the concept of ‘networked publishing’: “publishing of the future demands collaborating across the process chain.” As early as when co-establishing the Forum, he was convinced that in publishing – just as in other industries – boundaries need to be crossed in order to be innovative and attract readers in the Digital Age.
In line with Brian, he referred to the “diminishing role of gatekeepers” and asked the industry to “ensure discoverability and usability in the universe of any kind of content.”
2016: Not a longlist for a prize, but a long list of requirements …
So what are the practical requirements for ensuring ‘discoverability’ today? In his blog entry quoted at the beginning, Anders says: “If you are wondering what metadata information could be included when describing your book, here is an example of the information you should be supplying:”
Author, title, ISBN, publisher, genre, language, original title, translator, media review, date published, subject, keywords, book length, number of words, chapter length, time period, readability rating, pace, key attributes, content rating, dialogue, word types, distinct word prevalence, mood, sentiment, entities, specific references, places, people, action, character ages, expected same readers as specific books.
If a publisher utilizes Klopotek software, all of the information referred to in this list can be stored in the system and easily exported via XML, templates for online catalogs, or ONIX 2.1 or ONIX 3.0. This information can be checked and accessed with Product 360°, a web app which runs on Klopotek STREAM, a cloud-based technology platform.
Product 360° provides a complete 360° view on all product information to the various functional types of users in your organization with a fully configurable, widget-based layout. It links directly to Klopotek’s system-wide Product Pool but can also retrieve information from applications outside of Klopotek (e.g. show stock information from a distributor).
2016: ‘local’ and ‘global’ metadata
And as metadata becomes ever more important, Klopotek’s STREAM application Classification Manager helps to extend the reach of your products, as it can not only work with and ‘understand’ the different standards BIC, BISAC, and thema (and their different classification structures) but also help to ‘translate’ your classfication from one standard to the other. With local markets becoming ever more competitive and ‘discovery’ (or ‘discoverability’, respectively) becoming the difference between success or failure – the breadth of the metadata the publisher makes available is indeed a key differentiator, as pointed out above.
Klopotek’s Classification Manager is designed specifically to help the publisher extend their product reach.
2016: beyond ‘simple’ metadata: granularity, multi-contributors, customized products
Especially the STM space, but also Educational Publishing, is characterized by complex metadata, particularly with regard to multi-contributors and/or customized products. As content becomes more granular and reporting needs become more demanding, Klopotek offers publishers technology solutions to respond to ever-changing market demands at a low total cost of ownership.
The complexities of the STM and educational markets which go far beyond the (list of types of) metadata relevant for Trade publishing, require a technology infrastructure that can accurately track usage, calculate its value, and – equally important – can verify compliance with increasingly rigorous commercial terms. Klopotek technology is designed with these market requirements in mind.
2016: leaving the ‘product’ behind
Many of the world's largest publishers are Klopotek customers, as they are confident they can rely on our powerful solution to manage their end-to-end business processes. Working closely with our customers – and constantly organizing international exchanges on critical processes of change brought about by technology breakthroughs, digitization, and new content delivery models – has e.g. enabled us to ‘think out of the box’ and leave the ‘container’ (not just the physical one) behind:
Klopotek has replaced the ‘product’ concept with the ‘work’ concept: a ‘work’ can have many different ‘manifestations’ as many different products, but you can even start creating and designing a ‘work’ without knowing all the details of the product(s) you are planning to bring to market.
2017: How soon is now? Embrace the ‘art of collaboration’
When designing solutions which touch on many different aspects of utililzing data and optimizing processes, such as in the area of CRM, Klopotek integrates state-of-the-art technology of third-party providers. This is in line with the main concept of the Publishers’ Forum. The motto for the 2017 conference, 24-25 April (we’d love to see you there), is: “to succeed in the next wave of transformation, it will take more than any one player can tackle alone.”
Rüdiger Wischenbart, now Head of the Forum, states in his promotional article for the 2017 event that the “art of cooperation” has to be learned: “The new small, and the old big players, need to better understand each other, to become smarter, more versatile and more attractive to the fickle audiences.”
Thinking out of the box, or the container, is critical, as change is happening fast: “The odd ‘print versus digital’ is replaced by consumers picking up snippets on a mobile, debating news and discoveries in social networks, and switching seamlessly between books, games, movies, or the personal chatter with friends.”
The discussions at the Forum, our User Groups, and the large number of projects with our customers and third-party suppliers of leading solutions in their specific fields enable us to provide flexible software support to all types of publishers, tailored to their individual needs, to master current and future challenges – discoverability and cooperation beyond traditional borders between industries that were once separate entities included.