The Insourcing Boom in Digital Publishing

Insourcing applies to digital publishing as much as to manufacturers
like GE, which recently restored this assembly line in Kentucky.
After decades in which it's seemed that all kinds of business tasks were inexorably moving offshore in pursuit of lower labor costs, publications like the Harvard Business Review and The Atlantic have begun to note a swing in the opposite direction.   “Insourcing” and “onshoring” are becoming buzzwords as manufacturers start to bring at least some kinds of jobs back in house.  The reasons are many, but key among them are the agility and time-to-market benefits of bringing most product development functions together under one roof.

We’re seeing the same thing in digital publishing, and if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  Digital publishing is growing and changing as rapidly as any business, and at the same time, most publishing organizations now understand digital to be a core strategic activity essential to their future.

No longer is digital publishing primarily about shipping large backlists out for content conversion, or similar tasks that it has historically made sense to offshore.  Now the focus is on responding quickly to new market opportunities and exploiting the latest technologies.  From what we’re seeing among Tizra’s customers, the publishing organizations that do this best take a “big room” approach, with editorial, design, marketing, sales, production, finance and technology folks all collaborating closely.

Does this mean publishers should try to do everything in house?  Definitely not...any more than than it makes sense to build your own printing presses.  Just as with other publishing functions, you need to determine which functions truly differentiate you from competitors (including "free" information from non-professional sources), and cultivate in-house expertise in those areas.  The rest is all about providing your teams with the very best tools to empower them to carry out your organization's product vision.

For most publishers, this includes shifting many functions from outside or offshore service providers to a powerful, flexible, digital publishing platform like Tizra, which enables them to be self-sufficient and in direct control.  Advantages of the digital platform approach include...

  • Control -- When utilizing an offshore service provider, you lose the direct connection with your content and your audience, reducing control over the user experience, quality, timeliness, commerce options, and more.  Plus, with the rash of mergers and acquisitions in the offshore service provider market, you may find yourself in the position of dealing with turnover, or searching for a new partner.  With directly managed digital publishing software, you keep the key strategic expertise in house, and are in control of your brand, content and audience.
  • Time-to-market -- How many times do you need to add or update ebooks, change pricing and promotional copy, or implement new promotional codes or bundles?  With digital publishing software you can make these changes immediately, providing immediate gratification to your customers.  However, if you are working with an offshore service provider, you have to deal with time zone differences and delays related to submitting, scheduling, and implementing change requests.
  • Audience relationships -- With digital publishing software you are able to sell direct to your audience, meaning that you have full access to and control over all the information relating to your customers.  Instead of providing your digital content to an aggregator or online store such as Apple, Google, or Amazon, you can keep both your customer relationships, and your margins.  By utilizing digital publishing software, you can integrate your econtent storefront into your existing website, under your own design and branding.  You set the prices, offer the promotions, and even remix and rebundle content for targeted customer groups.  
  • Robust features -- The goal of a digital publishing software company is to deliver a quality self-service platform with a robust feature set that allows publishers to produce, market, and sell their econtent direct to their audience.  It is not something that has been adapted or retrofitted over time to serve that purpose. For example, Tizra was built from the ground up using digital document best practices and has been continuously expanded over the last five years to offer the features that publishers need to be effective.  These include mobile responsive design, search and discoverability, agile e-commerce, content remixing, detailed analytics, and much more.  An offshore service provider wants to sell you just that -- services -- with each new feature and requirement taking development time and money to implement. 
Are you publisher who feels that digital content is strategic to your business? Do you want to sell your content direct to your audience? Do you want control over the user experience, branding, pricing, and marketing? If the answer is yes, but developing digital publishing platforms is not your core strength, it's time to partner with a company like Tizra.  

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

Stanford's HighWire Press Picks Tizra

We're thrilled to announce a new partnership with Stanford University's HighWire Press.  It's exciting not only as an opportunity to work side-by-side with a longtime leader in online publishing, but also as validation of the robustness and flexibility we have worked so hard to build into Tizra.  HighWire has been serving up some of the most prestigious online journals in the world since 1995, and they are extremely selective about the technology they offer their customers.

But the real proof of the collaboration's value is the response from the marketplace, with organizations including Project MUSE (Johns Hopkins University Press), Duke University Press, and GeoScienceWorld already signed on in advance of the product's launch.  Clearly, the increased discoverability, ease of use and agility resulting from the collaboration are what publishers—and readers—are looking for.

Further details on the partnership are in the news release below.  A PDF version is also available from HighWire.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HighWire Expands eBook Integration with Tizra Partnership

July 16, 2013 (Stanford, CA & Providence, RI) -- HighWire Press, the leading ePublishing platform for scholarly publishers, is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Tizra to extend ebook functionality and integration to the HighWire Open Platform.

"HighWire provides an advanced digital publishing platform to help industry-leading scholarly publishers innovate and thrive," said Tom Rump, Managing Director of HighWire.  "We considered many alternatives before selecting Tizra, but concluded that their nimble ebook tools best complemented the HighWire Open Platform, helping us expand our focus on discoverability and creating the most intuitive user experience."

"Discovery in the ebook environment goes beyond search - it is the end to end path that a reader takes in finding, assessing, and making a decision to invest in a book, whether that investment is time or money," noted Tara Robenalt, Director of Product Management at HighWire.  "With the addition of Tizra's ebook reader features, HighWire publishers can blend books alongside their e-journals, offering an integrated cross-content solution that falls into the reader's natural workflow."

With help from Tizra, HighWire's expanded ebook solution offers:
  • Easy-to-read display, chapter navigation and page views, focusing on the page-turning experience; 
  • Social sharing options (Twitter, Facebook, bookmarking) at the page level; 
  • Increased discoverability through search engine optimization and the ability to provide readers with cross-content recommendations;
  • Mobile optimization using responsive and adaptive design to support access and viewing on smartphones and tablets;
  • Intuitive tools available to editorial staff giving them direct control over content updates.
"HighWire shares our enthusiasm for helping publishers and readers build communities around content," stated Abe Dane, President and COO of Tizra. "We are extremely excited to work with a leader in digital publishing, whose outstanding technology and services combine with ours to make econtent more valuable and accessible."

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About HighWire 
At the forefront of strategic scholarly publishing, HighWire Press provides the latest in digital content development and hosting solutions to the scholarly community through its groundbreaking HighWire Open Platform. A division of the Stanford University Libraries, HighWire partners with influential societies, university presses, and other independent publishers, sharing ideas and innovations in publishing, and producing definitive online versions of high-impact, peer-reviewed journals, books, reference works, and other scholarly content. Since its inception in 1995, HighWire has embodied a commitment to helping publishers disseminate their content to the widest possible audience, provided superior innovation, integration and insights to advance and facilitate the research communication process from within the scholarly community to meet the ever-changing needs of today's online and mobile readers. 
http://highwire.stanford.edu   |   Twitter: @highwirepress

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. 
http://tizra.com  |   Twitter: @tizra