The Satisfactions of Matchmaking

As a company with a newly launched service we're naturally looking for partners whose services complement ours, and who can recommend us to their customers. At least that's how we assumed it would work. But recently we were in the fortunate position of being able to turn the tables by playing the matchmaker between Bibliovault, a leading provider of highly complementary digital conversion and archiving services, and one of our newest customers, New York Botanical Garden Press.

Founded in 1896, The New York Botanical Garden Press has one of the largest publishing programs of any botanical garden in the world, and, as you can imagine, unique print titles waiting for online exposure. Tizra had already been accepting bulk transfers of book content from Bibliovault on behalf of Duke University Press, making the uploading and data management process seamless.

So when The NYBG Press talked to us about their need for a reliable partner to facilitate print and digital distribution, we immediately thought of Bibliovault. Not only do they have the technical expertise to convert print to digital files optimized for online distribution, but they have an outstanding reputation for preserving valuable print content. It’s a win all the way around, and we’re looking forward to helping The NYBG Press make the most of Bibliovault’s services.

The New York Botanical Garden Press Signs with Tizra

Famed for its plant collections, architecture and setting, The New York Botanical Garden is not only an exceptionally beautiful place, but a place for cutting edge research. The New York Botanical Garden Press communicates discoveries made there and elsewhere, and with three journals, five book series and more than 200 books, it is one of the largest publishers at any botanical garden in the world.

We're thrilled to announce that this renowned institution has chosen to begin making its publications available online with Tizra's Agile PDF. It's pretty exciting when an organization that's been around since 1896 decides to work with one that's been around since 2006. But consistent with their forward thinking spirit, we get the sense they're pretty excited, too.

"I am convinced that online publishing is a key part of our future," said Nate Smith, associate director of the press. "We've wanted to make our books available online for years, but until now none of the options really made sense for us."

I'm sure we'll have much more to say about this partnership in the days ahead, but for now, it's hard to think of a more authoritative endorsement of the hard work that's gone into Agile PDF.

PS: As a bonus, we're hoping we may finally learn a bit more about the obscure Tizra plant, from which our company gets its name!

Yum! Tizra Eats Its Dogfood

We keep talking about how Agile PDF makes it easy for nontechnical users to do sophisticated online publishing. Well, tell a story like that long enough and people start to wonder why you're not doing it yourself. Besides, any product benefits when its designers and builders are also users. Software developers call it eating your own dogfood.

So a few nontechnical members of the Tizra team dug in (with Joya, pictured above, as menu advisor). We did it just they way any publisher would, applying our company branding with the Agile PDF control panel and basic CSS skills, then uploading PDFs. The only difference is we're not actually publishers, so we used files freely available on the web, and of course, we're giving them away rather than selling them.

Voila! The New Agile PDF Demo Site

Screenshot of demo.tizra.com

Take a look. Then drop us a note, and we'll show how you can do the same—and a lot more—with your content. All of us, except maybe Joya, found it quite the best dogfood we'd ever tasted.

The Federation Press Chooses Agile PDF

We're happy to announce that The Federation Press, one of Australia's leading publishers of legal, social and academic journals and books, is now a Tizra customer and partner. It's especially validating because Federation clearly went out of their way, conducting an international search before settling on us, a new company on more or less the opposite side of the globe.

The decision seems typical of the independent, entrepreneurial, and yet pragmatic spirit Federation brings to publishing. With more than 400 books in print and twenty years in business, they're hardly upstarts, but they still place an emphasis on basics like efficient manuscript turnaround and quick order fulfillment. They're also a great fit with Tizra's innovative online publishing approach because of their international audience, and their focus on broadening access to traditionally esoteric topics through clear writing and creative marketing.

We look forward to helping Federation add an exciting new online chapter to their business!

Behind the Screens, Pt. 2--Customizing Site Design in Tizra Publisher

If you’ve seen some of the sites created with Tizra Publisher, you know how different they can look.

But how does this happen? In this second in our series on the Tizra Publisher web based control panel (first post here), we’ll show how easy it is to completely re-skin and restructure an Tizra Publisher site in a matter of hours.

First, a little slideshow of some recent results:

As in the first post, we’ll use the eat.shop guides from Cabazon Books as our example. Founded by a graphic designer, Cabazon has a strong visual identity and has done a great job reinforcing it across its print and online properties.

Step 1: Pick a design
While Tizra Publisher does provide pre-made templates for publishers to customize, Cabazon already had a site design they were happy with, and wanted to carry it over to the new online books site they were building on Tizra Publisher. Screens from the preexisting design they wanted to match:

Cabazon’s original eat.shop homepage

Cabazon’s original eat.shop homepage.

Original purchase page for print books

Original purchase page for print books.

Step 2: Upload images
The first step in implementing the design on Tizra Publisher is to grab the GIFs and JPEGs created for the original site and upload them through the Tizra Publisher control panel, so they can be incorporated into the new web pages.

Uploading an image

Uploading an image.

Step 3: Upload stylesheets
Like most sites, Cabazon’s existing design relied on standard cascading stylesheets for type, layout and other design information. These styles were imported into Tizra Publisher by uploading a CSS file.

Uploading CSS

Uploading CSS.

Step 4: Set up page structure
Tizra Publisher lets users build pages by arranging drag-and-drop Smart Blocks, rather than writing code. There are Smart Blocks for all of the dozens of page components and functions that can appear on an Tizra Publisher site, including Search, Login, Sales Promotions, Commerce, and even advertisements using Google AdWords. Watch the video to see how the components of the page used to display tables of contents for the eat.shop guides were dragged into place. Larger version here.

Click for larger video.

Step 5: We've got a match!
In just a few steps, we've matched Cabazon's design exactly and tied it in with the preexisting eat.shop site. Compare this new catalog of online books with their original printed book catalog back at the beginning of the post.

New online book purchase page

New online book purchase page...compare with original print version above.

Step 6: Experiment, learn, evolve.
So now Cabazon has extended two of its biggest assets—its content and its brand—into a new online presence based on Tizra Publisher.

Next: The really interesting part. Using Tizra Publisher's integrated commerce and content management tools to leverage those assets by unbinding, remixing and rebundling them into a new range of online products.