Case Study: How LAB-AIDS met its Scalability Challenge

"The Tizra architecture gives us confidence in our digital products, even with tens of thousands of students logging in."
—Lawrence Frank, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, LAB-AIDS
Download the Case Study
LAB-AIDS is in the business of delivering mission-critical education content, reliably and on a large scale.  For over 50 years, the company has developed, manufactured, and published science education materials for middle- and high-school students, and for teachers across the United States.  In that time, the company has built a reputation for delivering activity-based materials that go beyond the textbook. These materials need to be available to students and teachers at all times — especially during the after-school crunch time when students are doing homework.

"Reliability and scalability are crucial to our business," says LAB-AIDS Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Lawrence Frank. "The Tizra architecture gives us confidence in our digital products, even with tens of thousands of students logging in."
LAB-AIDS wasn't always so confident in their digital publishing platform. In the early days, they published digital materials using home-grown software that suffered serious performance problems under the load of heavy traffic during peak hours.

"Our core competency is in developing science education materials, not delivering reliable, scaleable access to digital content," says Frank. "What attracted us to Tizra is that they are domain experts in this field and that we were able to take what we already had and make a very easy transition to the Tizra platform without changing our materials or processes."
Working with Tizra, LAB-AIDS was able to transition to the scalable and reliable Tizra digital publishing platform within their tight, summer development window, before school went back into session.  LAB-AIDS is now using the Tizra Publisher platform to deliver online access to student and teacher materials across PCs, tablets and smartphones, including activities, simulations, videos, worksheets, and more. Now, with a year under its belt, LAB-AIDS has gained new confidence in its digital efforts, and increasingly sees them as a key part of their product mix.

"These days it is rare to do a deal where online books and materials are not a component of the solution," concludes Frank.

To learn more about how LAB-AIDS uses Tizra to deliver reliable, scalable, online access to its digital content, download the full case study.


The Importance of Understanding Your Audience

This is the first in a series of blog posts based on our recent webcast, "10 Factors to Consider when Developing your Digital Publishing Strategy." If you weren't able to attend, you can still watch it in its entirety, including the interactive question and answer session here.

View the Webcast

We start with the very core of your publishing business — audience.

Audience drives both sides of your publishing business.  On the product side, it should be the touchstone that guides your editorial and content development efforts.  Book publishers need to make sure their organizations are structured so that the voice of the audience is heard clearly and with authority.  Traditionally in magazine publishing, this role has been served by the editor-in-chief.  Most book publishers don't have comparable structures, and creating them is one of the great challenges of successful online brand building.

Your audience impacts where you promote and sell your content — big box retailers, independent book stores, online e-book stores, or direct-to-consumers from your own web portals. It also impacts how you deliver this content.  Does your audience skew toward e-books? If so, what format(s) do you need to support? Are they reading in a linear way, as is typical with fiction or other narratives, or in a more extractive way, seeking to address to particular questions or learning objectives via searching, browsing and bookmarking. In what kinds of environments do they read your books— office, school, or at home? And are they partial to particular types of reading devices, whether tablets, laptops, smartphones or dedicated e-readers?

Any publisher that lacks a deep understanding of its audience will falter.  Nathan Hull, digital development director of British media group Pearson's Penguin business said, "Big retailers know our customers better than we do." That is a problem, but what can publishers do about it?

In today's market, where margins are squeezed and competition exists from a variety of delivery mechanisms (rental, subscription, e-book, hard copy, etc.), it is becoming more important to establish a direct relationship with your audience, not only because it allows you to retain your profits, but also because it enables you to gather data on user preferences, habits and behavior patterns.  Without this knowledge, publishers are at greater risk of being disintermediated by online retail powerhouses. Readers are increasingly buying online, writing reviews online and getting ideas on what to read from online sources including social media, and publishers need to be tapped in to these processes.

At a minimum, publishers need to build a relationship with audiences through direct marketing, whether via social media, e-mail or other channels.  At the same time, any publisher who is not already selling direct should be considering the options. After all, 11 percent of people surveyed by O'Reilly said they have purchased direct from a publisher.

When you are beginning to develop your direct digital publishing strategy, some questions to ask throughout your organization include:
  1. What are the demographics and psychographics of your readers?
  2. What types of content do they prefer?
  3. Do they want interactive content that goes beyond text?
  4. What devices are they using to read content including laptops, tablets, e-readers and smartphones?
  5. How do they move between these devices?
  6. Who do they buy from?
  7. Where do they find out about new books?
  8. Where to they share reviews and recommendations?
  9. How can you build a better relationship with your readers?
While it all boils down to audience, there are many other things to consider when you are planning your digital publishing strategy.  Stay tuned for more insights, or you can jump ahead and download the complete white paper today.

 Download the White Paper

New Tizra APIs Support Automated, High-Volume Content Loading and More Flexible Web Design

For years Tizra has focused on giving publishers the power of custom software, without the expense of building it themselves. We're tremendously proud of how this approach has empowered many small- to medium-sized publishers to take control of their futures and build digital publishing programs in ways that would otherwise have been beyond their reach.  

But what about larger organizations who may already have strong development teams in-house, or who have already built or bought their own software? We hear you, too, and have now rolled out a series of APIs that will enable you to take advantage of the power of Tizra in ways that extend, and integrate with, what you already have.

HighWire Press is taking advantage of Tizra's new APIs to generate complex pages for Duke University Press, combining data from multiple sources and platforms.
Choosing Open Web Standards
Obviously, we're software developers ourselves, so it was important to us to take with an approach that would not only get the job done, but would make sense and be easy for other developers to work with. We know firsthand the frustration of working with needlessly obscure and proprietary APIs.
With this in mind, we chose some of the most popular and accessible open standards on the web: JSON data formats, used according to fairly strict REST principles.  Our experience through many deployments convinced us that the simplicity of programming and the benefits of inherent browser integration we gained more than made up for the loss of some XML tooling. It doesn't hurt if developers actually like working with our software!
What the APIs are Good For
The new APIs give developers a huge range of options, but they boil down to two basic kinds of tasks: Getting data out of Tizra, and putting data in.
Getting data out
Say you've already got a sophisticated website running on a web content management system like Drupal, or WordPress. You may not want to start over with a new CMS, but you may very well want to take advantage of Tizra's ability to promote, sell and deliver digital publications. The usual way of dealing with this is to use Tizra's web design tools to match the look and feel of your existing site, then knit the sites together with links. This can be very effective, resulting in an online experience that felt to end users like a single, seamlessly integrated website.

With the new APIs, however, there's an additional option: Using queries to pull data out of Tizra so it can be displayed in pages managed on the existing CMS. That means you can manage the interfaces you present to your users entirely in one system, which makes things simpler, and enables you to continue to leverage your existing investment in developers and tools. This is exactly what HighWire Press is doing as it integrates Tizra functionality into its existing platform, which make extensive use of Drupal.
Even for publishers who are building sites entirely on Tizra, the APIs offer advantages in that they allow more control over interactions and allowing for automated page generation. For example, Goodheart-Willcox used them to create its own, customized user registration flow with jQery, as shown below.
And in another example, LAB-AIDs used them to automate the generation of portals linking to hundreds of individual activity files that would otherwise have required many days of laborious hand coding.
Getting Data In
Of course, the flip side of flexibility in getting data out of Tizra is flexibility in getting data in. If you've already got well established production and publication management workflows, including title management, digital asset management or similar software, you probably will want to automate the loading and updating of content into Tizra's online publishing platform. Our goal with this part of the API was to make it possible to automate ALL of the sophisticated publication management features it's currently possible to perform manually through our Admin control panel, including unbundling of content into chapters or other subsections, pricing, and complex business and access rules.
As a result, it's now possible to automate the digital publication of large catalogs of content. Right now, HighWire Press is doing this with over 1500 ebooks for Duke University Press, and work is under way to publish tens of thousands of ebooks with Project MUSE.
So now, Tizra not only empowers smaller publishers by letting them build sophisticated, direct digital publishing programs just like the big guys, it also gives the big guys the ability to take better advantage of what they already have, and to get to market with new products more efficiently, flexibly and cost effectively.

Drop us a note if you'd like to learn more!


Join Us for a Lunch and Learn Webcast: 10 Things to Consider in Developing your Digital Publishing Strategy

Digital Book World Logo, HighWire Logo, Tizra Logo
Everyone is thinking about digital publishing, but are you ready to make it a strategic part of your publishing business?

According to the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of Americans 16 and older read ebooks within the last year. With more and more content being consumed online, publishers are going beyond tactical one-offs, and taking a serious strategic look at the transition to digital publishing as a core part of their business. In this free webinar hosted by Digital Book World, we will review the 10 most important factors publishers need to consider.
The webcast will feature a presentation by Stanford University’s HighWire Press, the technology partner and platform to 150 scholarly publishers, on the decision process they went through when selecting a strategic partner to enhance their ebooks product offering.
Join Digital Book World, Tizra, and HighWire on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 12pm ET to get the inside scoop on what to consider in building your digital business.

Attendees Will Learn
– What questions to ask stakeholders regarding distribution, audience, monetization and more
– How to leverage technology to improve discoverability of content and create new revenue opportunities
– What to look for in a strategic partner to supplement your in-house staff and speed your time-to-market
– How to future-proof your offering against the ever-changing e-reading landscape
– What factors HighWire considered in choosing Tizra to power their ebook publishing platform
Participants
– Abe Dane, President and COO of Tizra, Inc.
– Melinda Boland, Sr. Product Manager, eBooks at HighWire Press
Moderator
Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director at Digital Book World
Who Should Attend
– Digital publishers interested in offering online content direct to their audience
– Educational publishers
– Scholarly & professional publishers
– Associations & societies who publish or sell research, journals, or online content
This webcast is a service of Digital Book World and sponsored by Tizra. A recording of the webcast will be available to Digital Book World members.

Register today!


About the Presenters
attachment-1Abe Dane is a founder of Tizra, and has been working in publishing and e-commerce for 25 years. He launched Hearst's first magazine branded web site in 1994, and then was founding editor of HomeArts, a magazine portal that became one of the web’s top ad revenue earners. He later worked on projects for organizations including Oxford University Press, Gale and MIT OpenCourseWare. Prior to 1994, he was a technology journalist, including a stint as Science/Technology Editor at Popular Mechanics and a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT.

attachment
Melinda Boland began work as the Senior Product Manager for the Folio product at HighWire Press in the summer of 2013. Prior to HighWire, Melinda accrued 15 years experience in higher education publishing developing e-learning products for the life, earth, and social sciences. Working toward a Masters of Library and Information Science broadened her interest in working in publishing automation and ebooks. Melinda holds a Bachelor of the Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz in literature.

Princeton University Press Partners with Tizra to Take Einstein Papers Online

Unprecedented project will make nearly 30 volumes of Albert Einstein's papers available throughout the world.

October 9, 2013 (Providence, RI) -- Princeton University Press has selected Tizra as the digital publishing platform it will use to make The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein available online.  One of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science, The Collected Papers will ultimately comprise more than 14,000 papers selected from all phases of Einstein's career and fill nearly 30 volumes.

The online version hosted by Tizra will provide easy, searchable access to the full archive, and will offer features including:

  • Powerful, bilingual search, with page-specific search results.
  • Links between German text and corresponding English translations.
  • Persistent, page-specific URLs to facilitate citation, referencing and discussion.
  • Easy online viewing in all common web browsers, including those on the most popular mobile devices.

"The Einstein Papers Project is a major scholarly undertaking and we are very pleased to be able to make The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein available not just in print, but now online," said Kenneth Reed, Digital Production Manager. "We determined that Tizra was the right partner because of its highly flexible, open and intuitive content delivery approach, and strong reputation for reliability."

The Collected Papers provides the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein's first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.

"We are incredibly honored that our technology was selected by The Einstein Papers Project," said David Durand, CEO of Tizra.  "We founded Tizra because of our belief in the power of the web to make important content widely available, and it's hard to think of any that qualifies more clearly than the collected papers of Einstein."

About Princeton University Press
Princeton University Press is an independent publisher with close connections, both formal and informal, to Princeton University. As such it has overlapping responsibilities to the University, the academic community, and the reading public. Our fundamental mission is to disseminate scholarship (through print and digital media) both within academia and to society at large. We seek to publish the innovative works of the greatest minds in academia, from the most respected senior scholar to the extraordinarily promising graduate student, in each of the disciplines in which we publish. Through the publication of works of scholarly significance, Princeton University Press fulfills part of the mission of Princeton University by furthering its fundamental commitment to the dissemination of knowledge.

About the Einstein Papers Project
The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein were selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in the personal collection of Albert Einstein (1879-1955), and an additional 40,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents collected by the editors and the staff of the Einstein Archives since the beginning of the Einstein Project.  The Collected Papers will provide the first complete picture of a massive written legacy that ranges from Einstein's first work on the special and general theories of relativity and the origins of quantum theory, to expressions of his profound concern with civil liberties, education, Zionism, pacifism, and disarmament.  Sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Princeton University Press, the Einstein project was located at and supported by Boston University from 1986 to 2000. Currently located at and supported by The California Institute of Technology, the project will continue to make available a monumental collection of primary material. The Albert Einstein Archives are located at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

About Tizra
Tizra's powerful, proven web application makes it easy to sell ebooks and other digital content direct to readers, with unparalleled flexibility. Combining an intuitive web control panel with uniquely integrated content remixing, ecommerce, SEO and mobile web capabilities, Tizra empowers content owners to respond quickly to market feedback and build brands that will hold up over the long haul.  The company is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, and funded in part by Rhode Island's Slater Technology Fund.

See Tizra at the Frankfurt Book Fair




Guten Tag! If you are attending the Frankfurt Book Fair and thinking about your digital publishing strategy, we’d like to meet with you to tell you about all the great things happening at Tizra including:

Find Tizra at:
The American Collective Stand
Hall 8.0 S31
or email us at carlos.martinez@tizra.com to arrange a meeting.


Please join us in congratulating HighWire on the launch of Folio!


Built on the HighWire Open Platform and leveraging Tizra for ebook integration, Folio is a flexible, scalable, ebook solution, providing a user-friendly, intuitive reading experience tailored to a publisher’s specific audience and content.  


Join HighWire for a glass of bubbly and a demo of Folio including the Duke eBooks’ library release:
Wednesday, 9 October @ 16:30
Hall 4.2 K 17


Reserve your spot today! rsvp@highwire.org

How G-W Increases Customer Satisfaction (and profits) with DIGITAL FIRST Content

Drag-and-drop activity from one of G-W's Tizra-hosted digital textbooks shows how digital-first puts readers first.

For most publishers moving to digital, the best strategy is usually to start with their existing print catalog.  Consultants may deride this as a “shovelware” approach (meaning you’re just shoveling print content online), but the truth is it’s the shortest path to getting live with a good quality product, and beginning the process of learning what works and doesn’t work for your readers.

Once this is underway, however, it makes sense to start thinking more strategically about digital first content.  What do we mean by digital first? We think of digital first content as material that was born digital, i.e, developed from the outset to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by digital delivery, rather than tacking digital features on as an afterthought.

Digital-first content enables publishers to do more for the customer.  For example, educational publisher Goodheart-Willcox (G-W) recently introduced interactive editions of textbooks that include digital-first content such videos, rich animations, interactive diagrams and illustrations, drills such as e-flashcards and games, as well as self-assessments. The company has moved its digital content creation upstream in its production workflow and now begins with digital in mind, teaming book authors and multimedia specialists in close collaboration.

“We are a customer driven company with a rich history of providing excellent quality content,” says Shannon DeProfio, Vice President, Publishing for Goodheart-Willcox. “So when our customers told us they wanted more, we quickly moved to deliver more robust, interactive content that supports their efforts in the classroom and provides a more effective learning resource.”

In support of these efforts, G-W wanted to leverage their strong in-house digital team and subject-matter expertise, while avoiding the distraction of unnecessary software development.  Going beyond their initial efforts to take books online, G-W is now using the Tizra digital publishing software to create interactive editions that bring together a wide range of internally and externally developed digital-first content, including content from its companion websites and online courses.

“With Tizra, we can put our digital assets exactly where they need to be and can control who has access very flexibly,” said Julia Seliga, G-W’s Digital Media Manager.  “What it comes down to is Tizra helps us build the kind of engaging and exciting products customers love.”

So why should you think about digital first?  Here are some points to consider:
  • Digital-first content makes all kinds of content more engaging, and makes educational and professional content more effective.  Readers stay involved longer, and come back more often, helping you to build your online audience.
  • As competition and the pressure to lower prices increase, providing a premium experience through digital-first content allows you to maintain your profit margins and even increase them;
  • As consumers fully adopt digital technologies throughout their day, in the form of games, consumer websites and other high-production-value digital experiences, their expectations get steadily higher for levels of interactivity and rich media;
  • More and more leading publishers are making the strategic choice to provide digital-first content.
To learn more about how Tizra can help you deliver digital-first content or request a demo, contact us today.  Or, read the full Goodheart-Willcox case study here.

Texas Tech University Center Goes Digital and Reduces Print Budget by 80 Percent

CCFCS curriculum materials hosted by Tizra are winning raves from teachers.

After 44 years of empowering teachers with print materials that were aligned with key instructional goals, Texas Tech Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences (CCFCS) made the bold decision to go 100 percent digital using the Tizra digital publishing platform.


At first, the task seemed daunting.  “We printed out a copy of each of the curricula and some of them were four inches thick,” says center director Patti Rambo.  In addition to a massive quantity of materials for its 33 courses with 300-350 teaching strategies per course, the school also needed to meet aggressive revenue goals and appeal to a diverse customer base.


The Center’s search for solutions was exhaustive until they were directed to Tizra. “Tizra is flexible enough for us to make up the rules as we go along,” said Rambo. “We were able to design our pages so there’s less scrolling, and we were able to color code the courses.”


Tizra provided a user experience that is clear and simple enough to enable busy teachers to find what they need to prepare for classes in a format that is more directly applicable to the classroom. The lessons now include links to PowerPoint slides, videos and other teaching aids.


Based on the Center’s analysis, they are not only meeting their revenue goals, they have also reduced their printing budget by 80 percent.  Longer team, the Center expects the digital transition to create entirely new kinds of opportunities, including the potential of expanding nationally and overseas.


“We are thrilled with the way this has worked out, both financially and strategically,” concludes Rambo.


To learn more, read the entire Texas Tech case study here.

Tizra Upgrade Provides a Crisper, More Interactive E-Reading Experience

In the print world, when you think about a reader’s user experience, you consider factors like the size and weight of a book, paper quality, typeface, layout and design.  Moving to digital, some of these factors still hold true, but others are replaced with concerns such as speed, intuitive controls, cross-platform compatibility, plus as with any human interface, a host of intangibles.  We’re always working to make the Tizra reading experience crisper, easier, and less distracting, because happier readers mean happier publishers.

Tizra reader upgrade makes it easy to enhance content with interactive lightbox effects.

The update builds on Tizra’s ability to provide usability and compatibility across all the most popular web browsers and viewing devices, and is now available to all Tizra customers.

Enhancements include:  


  • Speed -- e-reading should be as crisp, fast and simple as turning a page. Your readers are not going to tolerate delays waiting for content to appear.  Tizra’s new e-reader makes better use of AJAX prefetching, greatly reducing the amount of data that needs to be transmitted with each page flip, and palpably increasing speed.
  • Reliability -- the new e-reader uses an updated version of jQuery mobile as its user interface framework for more reliable performance across a wider range of platforms.  We also squashed a number of bugs in the new implementation.
  • Convenience -- Tizra now supports the use of the left and right arrow keys to turn pages forward or back. A small refinement that makes online reading much less distracting. Other usability enhancements include a more streamlined table of contents
  • Interactivity -- this update also includes support for lightbox popups that allow for image enlargement without leaving the page (see above). The pop-ups can also be enabled for other forms of content such as video, Flash, or HTML, enabling publishers to create fully interactive multimedia experiences.  In addition, the new reader offers enhanced linking options, including the ability to highlight specific regions within the target page, and publisher control over link attributes such as external or no follow links.
  • Control -- lastly, the new reader provides publishers with more control over how their content is displayed, with the ability to upload custom markup elements for better branding and design flexibility, and more options for the sequencing and display of related content supplements in the slide-out sidebars.

So if you want deliver the best e-reading experience on the web, take a fresh look at Tizra.  Contact us for a demo today.

Why Books in Browsers? A Closer Look at e-book Publishing Software Choices

What’s an ebook?  


For many, the first thought is of a Kindle, Nook or similar device, designed for a single purpose and packed with texts downloaded from a single retailer.  However, it’s easy to forget just how new that notion of ebook publishing software is...or how quickly it’s changing.
Vintage Rocket eBook (left) and SoftBook devices show how quickly the basic definition of an ebook can change.  (From the collection of Tizra founder David Durand.)
As broadband connections and computing power become more pervasive, the idea of “books in browsers” or “books in the cloud” is gaining traction.  As has already happened in other media with services like Hulu, Netflix and Spotify, book publishers are starting to see the value in streaming content direct to users as they need it, rather than requiring them to download it to their own device before use.

The Case for Books in Browsers:

Delivering books or content in browsers is ideal for publishers that want to build a direct relationship with their consumers, as well as to maintain control over both content delivery and user experience. The benefits of web-based publishing include:


  • Audience.  With about 2 billion users worldwide, the web dwarfs even the largest single-company network, so if you want the largest audience with the least amount of custom development, the web is the way to go.
  • Control. It is important strategically to avoid being locked into systems owned by companies whose long term interests may not always mesh with your own. When you distribute through someone else's "walled garden," you are at the mercy of changing terms and usually have to give up significant portion of your revenue. You need only look at cases like Lendle, a book sharing service shut down after Amazon changed its API, or iFlowReader, an e-book reading app that closed because Apple’s 30 percent revenue fees and agency model didn’t allow for a sustainable business.
  • Relationships.  Selling direct allows a publisher to build its brand and establish a direct connection with its readers using personalized content and offers, direct marketing, and social integration. 
  • User data. A direct relationship also provides publishers with detailed data on user behavior, including the popularity of specific sections within specific publications, as well as information on traffic sources, conversion rates, and many other parameters using standard web analytics tools. This kind of information is crucial in evolving better user experiences and developing new products.
  • Discoverability.  Unlike content locked up in proprietary Apps or buried deep in App Stores, users can easily find web-published content through standard search engines, such as Google, and through links shared via social media, scholarly citations, email, and more.
  • User experience.  Every e-reader app is a little different.  I know personally when I use my Overdrive app versus my Nook app, I’m disoriented as I try to figure out how to access my bookmarks, look up words, change font sizes and more.  With web-based publishing, readers access content using their familiar web browser, providing a consistent experience across content and devices. Unlike e-reader apps, readers can easily keep multiple pages open in tabs without needing to open and close apps to compare sources and bookmark content.
  • Sharing.  With web-based publishing platforms like Tizra, each document page has its own persistent URL, making it easy share, via social networks or email links to specific pieces of content. This is difficult or impossible with e-reader apps because even if you refer to a page number, that will vary depending on the device being used.
  • Faster updates.  If you have new content to release, you aren’t dependent upon App store gatekeepers to approve your updates.  Rather you can push it out for users to see, read and purchase immediately.
  • Unbundling, remixing and sales flexibility.  Because you are not locked into a particular retailer's idea of a book as a sellable unit of content, you're free to experiment with unbundling publications into chapters, lessons, articles or other subsections, and to rebundle them into new products. And you can quickly create and test new promotions, targeting specific user groups, events or other sales opportunities.
  • Production flexibility. Systems like Tizra let you to leverage as much as possible of your existing production workflow, rather requiring you to generate content in new formats for specific ereading platforms.
  • Support for Complex layouts and interactive content. Converting to dedicated ereader formats often means stripping out formatting, so complex page layouts and illustrations no longer work as intended. In addition, options for authoring interactive content are limited, if they exist at all. By working within an open, browser-based environment, publishers gain access to a vibrant and growing ecosystem of tools and techniques for authoring rich content.
  • Offline support. For publishers that want to offer offline reading support, this is still possible via downloads or offline web readers.  


The Case for Dedicated e-Reader Apps:


Dedicated e-reader apps do well for mainstream publishers of e-books, especially fiction.  The benefits include:


  • Offline reading. With downloadable content, dedicated e-reader apps are ideal for offline reading in comfortable reading sessions with a dedicated e-reader or mobile device.
  • Distribution. Some publishers are not equipped to do their own direct marketing, and in these cases, Amazon and Apple can provide access to their significant installed audience base.  Although it should be noted that discovery is still a challenge and user account information is not accessible to publishers, so you continue to be dependent upon their distribution and unable to build a direct relationship with your readers.
  • Fine-tuned "page flipping" experience. Designers of dedicated ereaders have optimized around making it easy for readers to one thing first and foremost: flip through one page after another in narrative order, as one tends to do with fiction. If you expect your readers to do just that--without the need to search, bookmark, share and interact--a dedicated app may be the best solution.
  • Encrypted DRM. While encrypted DRM schemes are unpopular with readers, some situations still demand proprietary DRM schemes supported by dedicated e-reader apps.  Just keep in mind that user support costs are high, no DRM scheme can absolutely guarantee security, and the web offers some easier to support alternatives that may, for practical purposes, be just as secure.


Granted, as a web-based digital publishing platform you'd expect us to lean toward the web, but our preferences are practical and evidence based.  Consider The Daily, a news app which first appeared on tablets in February 2011 after a $30 million investment by Rupert Murdoch, and famously failed and closed in 2012. Or Conde Nast, which has seen relative “success” via Apple’s Newstand app but whose digital only subscriptions are still quite small.  The costs of creating content for apps on e-readers, tablets, smartphones, and more have pushed publishers like the Financial Times to drop their apps entirely in favor of a new HTML5 website, which optimizes for devices and provides features and functions that are app-like.

If you would like to learn more about Tizra’s web-based publishing approach, contact us for a free demo.

Case Study: Gibbs Smith Moves to Digital Publishing in Record Time

Gibbs Smith Education site on Tizra

Gibbs Smith Education a publisher specializing secondary school social studies textbooks, needed to find a way to move to digital publishing quickly to meet the requirements of school districts, while ensuring they met the curriculum standards set by each state.  


“We needed to meet the needs of schools who want the option of print or digital,” said education sales and marketing director Corine Sayler. “We knew schools were not buying as many printed texts as they used to.”


As a company that prides itself on Pulitzer nominated authors and meticulous attention to grade level-appropriate content, Gibbs Smith wanted to move to digital publishing in a way that preserved the levels of quality editorial and graphic design that had been so successful in print. Gibbs Smith also recognized that selling material in a digital format would open up new sales opportunities and revenue models, and was determined that any digital effort should be carried out on their own terms and to their own standards, to maintain control over their content and audience relationships.


But with a thinly stretched staff, the risk of developing ebook publishing software in house was too high so they began a search for a digital publishing platform partner. Tizra was the platform of choice based on factors including:

  • Tizra’s ability to achieve the digital transition quickly
  • Gibbs Smith’s ability to maintain direct control over development, both before and after launch
  • Tizra’s proven track record of successful deployments


“Tizra helped us transition to digital content in a timeframe others said was ludicrous,” stated Sayler. “Tizra never said no, they were flexible, adaptable and responded positively to our needs.”


In a matter of months, Gibbs Smith went from a print-centered company to one with a vital and growing new digital product line, which is every bit as much a part of their identity and mission as the books they’ve been publishing for 40 years.


To learn more, read the entire Gibbs Smith case study here.

Are you looking to move to digital publishing? Let us show you how Tizra can help.  

Tizra's Mobile Publishing Software Helps You Tap the Fast-Growing Mobile Audience with Responsive Templates

We are happy to report that Tizra’s mobile publishing software now offers responsive design templates for publishers who want to get started quickly with a standardized site design, yet also want to support the wide variety of devices their audience is using to search for, purchase, and consume content.

Combined with the mobile reading interfaces which Tizra has had in place for more than a year, the new templates enable publishers to create a fully mobile optimized user experience with no design customization.


Why Is This Important?


In the three short years since tablets first came on the market in 2010 with the introduction of the first-generation iPad, their popularity has grown to the point that now one third of American adults now own a tablet computer (Pew Research.) During the same time, we have seen the introduction of scores of smartphones, with smartphone penetration surpassing 59 percent, with 141 million U.S. owned smartphones (comScore.)

Tablet ownership chart

According to research presented by Goodreads at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference earlier this year, 37 percent of those smartphone owners surveyed read on their device, while 86 percent of tablet owners read on their device. With all this content being consumed over so many devices, how is a publisher to keep up with all the devices, operating systems, and screen sizes?

The answer is mobile responsive design.  With responsive websites, the layout and content adapts automatically based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. By adapting both the layout and what content is shown, depending on the device, publishers are able to provide their audience with a better user experience.

Tizra’s Mobile Responsive Design Templates

Tizra Publisher now offers website templates that utilize mobile responsive design to deliver a great user experience across a wide range of devices.  These templates have been extensively cross-platform tested to ensure a superb user experience.  Each template contains all the components necessary to create a complete publication website.  Using Tizra’s mobile responsive design templates essentially future-proofs your site against the continuously changing technology landscape of new devices, operating systems, and formats -- allowing you to focus on your core competency, your content.

At Tizra, we are committed to helping publishers go digital faster, and with greater control over your brand, audience and content.  Mobile responsive design is one critical checkbox on the list of features that make the Tizra platform the choice of leading publishers.