Digital Einstein Papers Launches on Tizra


Launching today, THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS is a publicly available website of the collected and translated papers of Albert Einstein that allows readers to explore the writings of the world’s most famous scientist as never before.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Princeton, NJ – December 5, 2014 – Princeton University Press, in partnership with Tizra, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and California Institute of Technology, announces the launch of THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS (http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu). This unique, authoritative resource provides full public access to the translated and annotated writings of the most influential scientist of the twentieth century: Albert Einstein.

“Princeton University Press has a long history of publishing books by and about Albert Einstein, including the incredible work found in The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein,” said Peter Dougherty, director of Princeton University Press. “We are delighted to make these texts openly available to a global audience of researchers, scientists, historians, and students keen to learn more about Albert Einstein. This project not only furthers the mission of the press to publish works that contribute to discussions that have the power to change our world, but also illustrates our commitment to pursuing excellence in all forms of publishing—print and digital.”

THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS website presents the complete contents of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, and, upon its launch, the website—http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu—will contain 5,000 documents covering the first forty-four years of Einstein’s life, up to and including the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics and his long voyage to the Far East. Additional material will be available on the website approximately eighteen months after the print publication of new volumes of The Collected Papers. Eventually, the website will provide access to all of Einstein’s writings and correspondence, accompanied by scholarly annotation and apparatus.

What sorts of gems will users discover in THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS? According to Diana L. Kormos-Buchwald, director of the Einstein Papers Project, “This material has been carefully researched and annotated over the last twenty-five years and contains all of Einstein’s scientific and popular writings, drafts, lecture notes, and diaries, and his professional and personal correspondence up to his forty-fourth birthday—so users will discover major scientific articles on the general theory of relativity, gravitation, and quantum theory alongside his love letters to his first wife, correspondence with his children, and his intense exchanges with other notable scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and political personalities of the early twentieth century.”

Buchwald also noted that THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS will introduce current and future generations to important ideas and moments in history, saying, “It is exciting to think that thanks to the careful application of new technology, this work will now reach a much broader audience and stand as the authoritative digital source for Einstein’s written legacy.”

THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS enables readers to experience the writings of Albert Einstein in unprecedented ways. Advanced search technology improves discoverability by allowing users to perform keyword searches across volumes of Einstein’s writing and, with a single click, navigate between the original languages in which the texts were written and their English translations. Further exploration is encouraged by extensive explanatory footnotes, introductory essays, and links to the Einstein Archives Online, where there are thousands of high-quality digital images of Einstein’s writings.

The Tizra platform was selected for this project, according to Kenneth Reed, manager of digital production for Princeton University Press, because of its highly flexible, open, and intuitive content delivery approach, and its strong reputation for reliability. Equally important was creating a user-friendly reading experience.

“One of the reasons we chose Tizra is that we wanted to preserve the look and feel of the volumes,” said Reed. “You’ll see the pages as they appear in the print volumes, with added functionality such as linking between the documentary edition and translation, as well as linking to the Einstein Archives Online, and the ability to search across all the volumes in English and German.”

THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS is an unprecedented scholarly collaboration that highlights what is possible when technology, important content, and a commitment to global scholarly communication are brought together. We hope you will join us in celebrating this achievement and invite you to explore Einstein’s writings with the links below.

Work on THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS was supported by the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. endowment, the California Institute of Technology, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Arcadia Fund, U.K.

A Sampling of Documents Found in THE DIGITAL EINSTEIN PAPERS

Website: http://einsteinpapers.press.princeton.edu

“My Projects for the Future” — In this high school French essay, a seventeen-year-old Einstein describes his future plans, writing that “young people especially like to contemplate bold projects.”

Letter to Mileva Marić — The first volume of The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein revealed that the young Einstein had fathered an illegitimate daughter. In this letter to his sweetheart and future wife, Einstein, age twenty-two, expresses his happiness at the birth of his daughter Lieserl, and asks about her health and feeding.

Einstein’s first job offer — Einstein graduated from university in 1900, but had great difficulty finding academic employment. He received this notice of his appointment as a technical clerk at the Swiss Patent Office in June 1902 and would later describe his time there as happy and productive.

“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” — Einstein’s 1905 paper on the special theory of relativity is a landmark in the development of modern physics.

“On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light” — Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics for this paper on the hypothesis of energy quanta.

The telegram informing that Einstein he has won the Nobel Prize — Einstein was traveling in the Far East when he officially learned via telegram that he had been awarded the prize. However, he had long been expecting the prize, as evidenced by a clause regarding its disposition in a preliminary divorce agreement from Mileva in 1918.

“The Field Equations of Gravitation” — Einstein spent a decade developing the general theory of relativity and published this article in late 1915.

To his mother Pauline Einstein — Einstein writes to his ailing mother to share the happy news that his prediction of gravitational light bending was confirmed by a British eclipse expedition in 1919.

To Heinrich Zangger, on the mercurial nature of fame — Having been propelled to world fame, Einstein writes to his friend about the difficulties of being “worshipped today, scorned or even crucified tomorrow.”

To Max Planck, on receiving credible death threats — Einstein writes that he cannot attend the Scientist’s Convention in Berlin because he is “supposedly among the group of persons being targeted by nationalist assassins.”

Four Lectures on the Theory of Relativity, held at Princeton University in May 1921 — On his first trip to the United States, Einstein famously delivered these lectures on the theory of relativity.

About The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein
The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein is one of the most ambitious publishing ventures ever undertaken in the documentation of the history of science. Selected from among more than 40,000 documents contained in Einstein’s personal collection, and 15,000 Einstein and Einstein-related documents discovered by the editors since the beginning of the Einstein Project, The Collected Papers provides the first complete picture of a massive written legacy. When completed, the series will contain more than 14,000 documents as full text and will fill thirty volumes. The volumes are published by Princeton University Press, sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and supported by the California Institute of Technology.
http://www.einstein.caltech.edu/

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.
http://press.princeton.edu | Twitter: @PrincetonUPress

About Tizra
Tizra’ digital publishing platform makes it easy to distribute and sell ebooks and other digital content directly to readers, with exceptional control over the user experience. Combining intuitive control panels with integrated ecommerce, SEO, mobile, multimedia, and content remixing capabilities, Tizra empowers content owners to respond quickly to market feedback and build audience relationships 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

Online Books that Speak for Themselves

A while back, we announced a partnership with ReadSpeaker, a leading provider of text-to-speech software. We're really excited to see how our customers have been using the capability to make their ebooks and other content more accessible to users with vision impairments and other handicaps… as well as more engaging for all kinds of users. Check out what Gibbs Smith is doing with their history textbooks in the video below, and request a demo if you'd like to learn more about how they did it.


Frankfurt 2014: Navigating a Book Fair Bigger than Providence

Tizra makes books—and book fairs—easier to navigate.
Along with much of the publishing world, we are excitedly preparing for the annual Frankfurt Book Fair next week.  275,000 participants are expected, more than the population of Tizra's home city of Providence. If you're like us, you'll want all the help you can get navigating the maze of pavilions and events, so we've posted web versions of the show's handy A-to-Z quick reference guide on the Tizra demo site, in English and Deutsch.  Hope you find it useful...and that we see you among the 275,000!

Fast Forward (and Back) with Thumbnail Browsing

Screenshot of Tizra's new thumbnail browsing option.
Helping readers maintain the kind of contextual awareness and quick navigation that print books naturally afford has been a perennial challenge in designing digital reading interfaces. Our new thumbnail browsing option helps by displaying a row of small page images below the main reading area. Readers can quickly skim back and forth to spot the page layouts and illustrations they're looking for. It's especially helpful with educational, reference and illustrated texts, where ability to home in fast on the right page is key.


If you're a Tizra customer and you'd like the feature activated, just drop us a line.

How Big Is the iPad Opportunity? Let's Look at the Stats

iPad and iOS sessions on Tizra
We recently took a closer look at the analytics for publications delivered through Tizra, and were not surprised to see that mobile usage continues to rise sharply. But what did surprise us was just how quickly one particular mobile device—the iPad—is driving a fundamental change in the way people consume content.

Apple's iOS mobile operating system is now second only to Windows in popularity, mostly because of the rapid rise in iPad use. Compared to a year ago, iPad traffic is up 277 percent, and now represents 21 percent of total user sessions on Tizra-powered sites.

It's hard to think of a better opportunity for publishers of eBooks and other long-form content.  If you'd like to know more about how publishers like the International Association for the Study of Pain, LAB-AIDS and others are working with Tizra, please drop us a line.

The Secret to Online Ebook Discovery


We have talked about three of the 10 Factors to Consider when Developing your Digital Publishing Strategy, including audience, selling direct, and monetization. Today, we tackle discovery.

The way readers discover new books and content is changing and this is happening not just in the consumer trade publishing business. Discovery is moving from bookstores and face-to-face conversations to online discovery and referrals through social networks, and, as a recent study from Bowker Market Research shows, this is true even of ebooks. 

In fact, O'Reilly Tools of Change published findings in 2013 to show that 39 percent of their sample discovered books online, 27 percent through an online publication, and 14 percent through social media. 

So what does this mean for publishers? It means rethinking your marketing strategy to focus more on online discovery.

Here are 5 Strategies for Improving your Online Ebook Discovery:

1. Search Engine Optimization - a trick to making your content more discoverable is ensuring the you can deep link into your content to optimize and make searchable individual chapters and pages, not just entire text. For example, if you are a medical association, you might have a chapter within a publication on a particular illness. If that content is fully searchable and has been optimized with the correct meta data, your content will show up in Google searches. However, if all that can be searched is based on the publication name and high level metadata, you are less likely to show up in search. Using a digital publishing and distribution platform that enables this level of search and deep linking is critical.

2. Related Content and "Also Bought" Lists - smart e-commerce marketers and e-content creators have long since discovered the power of related content suggestions. This can be powered by engines looking for similarly tagged content or looking at the history of what others have also purchased/read. In fact, it was a driving factor in Stanford University's HighWire Press creating an integrated platform for its academic journals and ebooks (see more details below).

3. Direct Marketing and Email Marketing - as you begin to build direct relationships with your audience, you can start marketing directly to customers, beginning with building an email subscriber list. You can then send email campaigns to promote new content and segment lists to deliver personalized recommendations.

4. Promotions and Samples - Using email marketing, onsite promotions and online advertising, you can promote new content to audiences to increase discoverability. By offering coupon or promotional codes, as well as free sample previews or chapters, you can entice readers to take a look and make a purchase.

5. Social Media - with social media it is becoming easier to reach and engage with your target audience through broad networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest where readers will follow your profile or authors; to engaging where your audience is congregating in places like Goodreads, LibraryThing, or niche social networks and forums.

How HighWire Press Tackled Ebook Discovery
HighWire Press is a digital publishing technology partner to over 145 influential societies, university presses, and other independent publishers, hosting a massive library of journals, books, reference works, and other scholarly content. They knew that bringing journals and ebooks together under one platform would enable researchers to search and find relevant content regardless of publication format: journal articles or book chapters. Not only would this integration provide more value to readers, it would also raise journal customer awareness of related books and increase usage across a publisher's collection.

When HighWire decided to integrate its journal and ebook offerings under one groundbreaking Open Platform, they knew they needed to do it in a way that would scale quickly to support large content libraries, increase the discoverability of new content, and provide an easy-to-use interface. For that, they turned to Tizra.

"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," said HighWire CEO Tom Rump.

Working with Tizra, the combined ebook and journal offering was brought to market quickly, with the first Folio site for Duke University Press launched on schedule, offering more than 1,600 titles. Additional high profile customers soon followed, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and GeoScienceWorld.

A Customer Calls It as He Sees It

An email from one of our customers this morning reminded me that sometimes it’s best to just get out of the way and let them do the talking.  Following is unedited text from John Weatherby, Director of Product Line Management, at LAB-AIDS (and an umpire in his spare time), on why he recommends Tizra to his colleagues...
                Reliability of TIZRA – we have experienced very little downtime during the course of our relationship and that is critical, especially to teachers that rely on access during class time
                Cross platform Capabilities – This is key in my mind as the diversity of the products teachers and students are using to access TIZRA is an issue. To develop something in-house that would work across all platforms would be fairly complicated
                Technical Support – You guys have done a great job supporting us and troubleshooting problems when they come up. This is something most publishers worry about: will someone be there to help through the process
                Cost – The financial investment to develop a multi-platform product would be huge at this point, then you still have to worry about whether it will work
Competition – We did our due diligence and could not identify another company that was doing the kinds of things TIZRA is doing. Couple that with the very positive feedback I received when I solicited feedback from your customers and in many ways it becomes a no-brainer.
Thanks, John!  You can't buy better marketing than that.

Optimizing eContent Sales: 5 Strategies for Monetizing Content

Targeted promotions and content bundle upsells are two ideas to test in optimizing sales.
This is the third in a series of blog posts based on our webcast, "10 Factors to Consider when Developing your Digital Publishing Strategy." You can still watch it in its entirety here:
View the Webcast
So far we have talked about the importance of understanding your audience and whether or not to sell direct. Today, we investigate the various monetization strategies publishers utilize. 
The entire publishing industry has been experimenting with pricing and delivery models, from the Netflix-like subscription services offered by Oyster and Scribd, to bundling of ebooks with print editions, to chapter-at-a-time sales and more. Yet no single pricing model has emerged. 
What does that tell publishers? It means that you need the flexibility to experiment with your pricing strategy and adapt quickly to market fluctuations and demands. You will need a commerce and delivery solution that supports experimentation and a wide variety of pricing options.
Before you get started, you'll need to ask:
  • Do we need different pricing depending on customer type?
  • Will we offer discounts and promotions?
  • What pricing strategies do we want to experiment with? 
  • Will we be selling internationally and need to support multiple currencies?

Let's examine 5 Strategies for Monetizing Content:

  1. Free + Paid Combo - Some publishers, like Orca Book Publishers (see Orca case study), offer a combination of free and paid content. Free content can include free trials, free sample chapters, or just a subset of content that is always free with premium content that is monetized. Ideally, you want a delivery system like Tizra that is equipped to handle all pricing models within a single platform.
  2. Subscriptions - Subscriptions come in different forms. Associations such as ARL (see ARL case study), might offer monthly subscriptions to journals or newsletters to members, including libraries and other institutions. While educational publishers like Gibbs-Smith want to offer classroom subscriptions for shared access, as well as individual subscriptions for teachers. 
  3. Content Packaging - Having the ability to unbundle and remix content provides publishers with a great deal of flexibility when it comes to creating content packages that are appealing for different customers. Publishers could deliver one chapter-at-a-time, blend together relevant journal articles and e-books, or create content packages for specific curricula. HighWire Press uses Tizra to offer both journals and e-books through its Folio product (see HighWire Press Release.)
  4. Tiered Pricing - Some publishers, especially associations, want to offer different pricing tiers dependent on set factors such as one price for members vs. non-members. These types of marketing strategies demonstrate the value of membership for associations like IASP and AAOS.
  5. Coupon and Redemption Codes - Many publishers, like OEM Health Information (see case study), utilize coupon codes to run promotions for new or targeted content. Others, like Goodheart-Wilcox (see case study), manage customer access through redemption codes.
All of these strategies are valid, and effective, depending upon your audience. Our suggestion to publishers is to experiment with various strategies and offer your customers multiple ways to purchase your content. By offering this flexibility you have agility to adapt and meet the needs of multiple customer types -- thereby maximizing your monetization. 
Tizra's digital publishing platform is well-suited to handle all of these pricing strategies and provides the flexibility and control you need, within your own site, supporting your own brand. To learn more, contact us today.



Case Study: Orca Book Publishers Unifies its Digital Offerings Using the Tizra Platform


"We needed to find a way to keep all our of customers together on the same site,"
--Melanie Jeffs, Director of Digital Products, Orca Book Publishers

Download the Case Study

Orca, a Canadian-based publisher of award-winning books for children, teens and reluctant readers, used to maintain separate websites and e-commerce platforms for its various digital offerings. The company had its free teaching resources under its own domain, separate e-commerce stores for the U.S. and Candian booklists, and a third site supporting paid subscriptions to its Text2Reader language arts resources. Maintaining these disparate platforms was a headache and didn't provide a smooth customer experience.
"We needed to find a way to keep all our of customers together on the same site," said Melanie Jeffs, Director of Digital Products at Orca.
After closely examining a number of different e-commerce solutions, Orca selected the Tizra Digital Publishing Platform because it offered:
  • The ability to mix paid and free content within the same platform
  • Support for partitioning off subscriber-only content
  • Remixing capabilities to support creation of new product offerings from existing content
  • Simple management for updating publications and web pages
"The Tizra Platform was the best solution for our needs, providing all the features we needed -- making it possible to keep the same branding and site design across our online properties," continued Jeffs.
Orca was able to implement the Tizra-hosted teacher resource site and easily update it once their new overall site design was finalized. Since implementing the Tizra platform, Orca's digital revenues are already growing and they are enjoying the simplicity and flexibility of the Tizra platform including:
  • Support for multiple content formats including MP3 audiobooks, Text2Reader subscription content, PDF ebooks, and free teacher resources
  • Mobile responsive design templates to ensure the site looks beautiful on desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones
  • Opportunities to segment and remix content allowing for sampling and free content delivery
  • Promotional capabilities enable Orca to create special offer codes for subscribers
  • Fast and easy content uploading
  • Simple in-house management of content and commerce capabilities
Learn more about Orca's implementation of the Tizra Publishing Platform and what they are doing next by downloading the case study today!

AAOS & IASP: A Bit More Than the Obligatory Launch Announcement

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the International Association for the Study of Pain launched eBook sites on Tizra almost simultaneously.











Site launch announcements tend to be a bit like high school football coverage in small-town papers: The only people who pay attention are the players and their families. We think today's news is a little different, though. It involves two very prestigious organizations with similar goals going live on Tizra almost simultaneously, and as a result, serves to emphatically highlight some trends of broad interest in professional publishing.

Why did both the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the International Association for the Study of Pain choose now to go-live with eBook portals on Tizra? Each had their reasons, but a few common threads...

  • Both view delivering value to, and building relationships with, members as mission critical, and therefore wanted a digital publishing platform that would help them understand and optimize every facet of those relationships.
  • Both view their digital publications as an integral part of the value they provide, and therefore want them to be an integral part of the websites through which they connect with their communities.  Tizra made the experience seamless.
  • Both had prior investments in different association management software packages, and needed a publication platform that would integrate with them to provide easy single sign-on access, and a personalized experience for their members.
  • Both wanted solutions that would make their publications discoverable by a wider audience, helping to expand their communities.
  • Both know it's crucial to keep up with rapid change in the ways their communities are consuming information...and needed a solution that could evolve along with them. 
So yes, this is a launch announcement.  But we hope you agree, it's also a sign of some bigger things that bear watching!

New Text-to-Speech Options Offer Access to a Broader Market

ReadSpeaker Logo
While the opportunities in digital publishing keep growing, so do the challenges. It's no longer enough to get your content online and figure out how to market and sell it. The digital audience is getting broader and more diverse, which means you need to adapt to new ways of consuming content. Helping publishers meet these challenges is Tizra's mission, as demonstrated in recent enhancements like improved mobile supportenhanced online reading, and better ways to deliver digital first-content.

Now we're going a step farther, and adding text-to-speech capabilities through a partnership with ReadSpeaker, the worldwide leader in this area since 1999. Soon, you'll not only be able to reach users across a wide range of devices and platforms through Tizra, but will also be able to reach all levels of reading ability, different learning styles, and users with visual and other disabilities.

This partnership is a great fit not only because ReadSpeaker's commitment to technical excellence and user-centered design matches our own, but because both companies share the belief that the best way to reach the widest audience is through the the web. The web's open standards mean our systems work together easily and smoothly, and offer the best possible compatibility with popular reading devices and platforms.

How it Works
Readers will start the text-to-speech feature by clicking on a Listen button within the Tizra-hosted content, launching the ReadSpeaker keyboard-controlled audio player. ReadSpeaker's natural-sounding text-to-speech is offered in 32 different languages to address all your audiences, and highlights text as it is read to promote better understanding — especially critical for educational and medical publishers.

Text-to-speech features include:
  • Multiple languages and multiple voices per language
  • Customizable reading area, order and speed
  • Text highlighting with customizable colors and segmenting by sentence or word
  • Pronunciation dictionary
  • WCAG 2.0 compliance
By offering text-to-speech capabilities, you'll be able to extend the reach of your online content to audience segments that are otherwise underserved, including those with visual impairments, learning disabilities including dyslexia, as well as reluctant readers and those who simply prefer audio consumption.

Get Text-to-Speech
Text-to-speech is rolling out to current customers over the next two months and will be an available option for all new Tizra customers. Existing Tizra customers can upgrade to incorporate text-to-speech capabilities for their content. Contact Tizra to learn more.

Case Study: ARL Walks the Walk on Accessible Content

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) provides leadership in public and information policy to 125 research and academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada. A few years ago, in an effort to increase community engagement and reduce costs, ARL made the move from print to digital publications using the Tizra platform.

"Our goal was not just to go e-only, but to get there with enhanced functionality," said Publications Program Officer Lee Anne George.

When evaluating digital publishing platforms, ARL had some critical requirements including:
  • Support for existing publication formats
  • A full e-commerce platform supporting both free and paid content, as well as password- and IP-authenticated access for individual users or entire organizations
  • Mobile responsive design support
  • Full-text searching including relevancy ranking and linking to specific pages in search and social sharing
  • Support for ARL's digital accessibility mandates
After extensive testing, including an extended public beta, ARL Tizra best met their requirements and moved into production starting with its flagship newsletter Research Library Issues.
An important part of the project was to provide open and equitable access to information for those with print disabilities.  "We needed to 'walk the walk' when it came to the accessibility practices we recommend to our members. Tizra's ability and willingness to support our initiatives were an important part of our decision making process," said George.
ARL is strongly committed to providing access to its own web content to people with print disabilities and is currently working to comply with the requirements of W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA). Tizra has worked with ARL to create accessible landing pages for its digital content and is working with ARL in taking additional steps to improve screen reader interpretation, including adding alt text to images, captioning videos, using style settings to define text types, assigning languages and completing metadata.
To learn more about ARL's accessibility initiatives and digital success, download the case study.

Direct or Not? Developing Your Publishing Distribution Strategy

This is the second 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
In the first post of  this series, we talked about the importance of understanding your audience. Today, we turn our attention to another of the most important decisions a digital publisher can make: whether or not to sell direct. As you may have recently read, many large publishers such as HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, and F+W Media, have begun selling digital content direct to consumers through dedicated websites, such as Narnia.com and Pottermore.com, or branded mobile applications. Others are waiting in the wings, but starting to establish direct relationships with consumers through direct marketing and social media.

Of course there are trade-offs to be made, do you cede control and give up a chunk of dwindling profit margins for the reach, scale and time-to-market gained through a channel partner? Before you decide on your digital strategy, let's weigh the pros and cons:

Direct-to-Consumer Digital Sales

  • Relationships -- by selling direct you are able to build a one-to-one relationship with your audience, better understanding their interests, motivations, and preferences.
  • Direct Marketing -- having a direct commercial relationship also enables you to market directly to consumers through email marketing opt-in lists, but also using the storefront to promote new offerings or related content. On the downside, you need to invest more heavily into marketing in the beginning to build these relationships if they are not already established.
  • Profit Retention -- By selling direct, you retain your profits, allowing you to invest in content creation.
  • Control -- when you sell direct, not only do you control the pricing, you also have control over the buying experience and content presentation to support your brand.
  • Flexibility -- there has not yet emerged one clear pricing strategy for digital content sales. By selling direct, you have the flexibility to experiment with pricing, offering options like member pricing, subscriptions, bundling, sampling, promotional codes, and remixing of content, until you find the pricing mix that works best for your audience.
  • Platform Reach -- by offering online content, you can sidestep the limitations of a specific e-reader platform, instead making your content available across desktops, laptops, tablets, e-readers and smartphones.
  • In-house Skills --  if you decide to sell direct, you will need a strong marketing and sales team in-house, and they will need to work closely with your editorial and production teams.  However, it does NOT mean you need to invest heavily in software development or IT infrastructure.  By partnering with a digital publishing platform provider like Tizra, you can focus on strategic tasks like marketing and product development, without reinventing the technology required to sell and deliver your content.
Channel Sales
  • Audience Reach -- the key benefit to channel sales is immediate access to their broad audience reach. That is, if you can pay to rise above the noise in their massive libraries. Presumably, they know their audience well and can suggest your content to targeted audiences. However, you don't get a chance to establish direct relationships with this audience.
  • Revenue Loss -- in return for that reach, big channel players like Amazon and Apple's iBooks keep up to 30 percent of revenue. With falling ebook prices, that is a difficult pill to swallow for many publishers.
  • Limited Control -- working through the channel, you have limited control over the pricing or presentation of your content, limiting your ability to offer different consumption options or promotions to what is supported within the partner's ecosystem.
  • Hands Off -- the purpose of the channel is to provide the reach and the fulfillment, which means you have a hands off approach to commerce, content management, scalability, and customer support. The channel partner "owns" the customer relationship.
Whether you decide to focus on direct sales or continue to prioritize channels it is becoming abundantly clear that all publishers need to find ways to build direct relationships with consumers or risk being disintermediated by powerful retailers who increasingly have designs on publishing themselves. To start, publishers can create opt-in email lists, conduct direct marketing campaigns and build relationships via social media to build a brand beyond a single title or author.

Even the Little Guys Can Sell Direct
While smaller publishers may feel they need to hang back and play follow the leader to watch and learn from larger publishers, it is possible for them to be very successful selling direct if they make the right partnership arrangements. These publishers tend to know their audiences well, and can leverage that knowledge by using pre-established technical infrastructure from a company like Tizra, which lets them go live quickly, and maintain control over their products and promotions.

When, for example, family-owned publisher OEM Health Information, Inc. decided to go digital, they knew they wanted to continue marketing to the audience they had cultivated over thirty years in business. Publisher and President Curtis R. Vouwie turned to Tizra because, "Not only did Tizra's software give us the capabilities and control we were after, but their business model was appealing because it let us retain our profits."

To learn how you can sell direct with the flexibility, control and features you need, contact Tizra today. To learn more about how OEM Health went digital, read the case study.

Case Study: Small Medical Publisher Proves You Don't Have to Be Big to Sell Direct


"We were most comfortable with Tizra because of their personal approach. As a small company, we wanted a close relationship with a company that provides the same level of support we deliver to our customers." 
-- Curtis R. Vouwie, President and Publisher, OEM Health Information, Inc.
Download the Case Study

OEM Health Information, Inc. is a small company with an outsized presence in its field.  They have been publishing books on occupational and environmental health topics for over thirty years, and their books are relied on by doctors and nurses who need to be able to access information in a wide range of settings, and have no time for tech hassles.  "We needed an ebook solution that provided simple, reliable access from the clinic or from the road," says President and Publisher Curtis Vouwie.

With a small staff, Vouwie knew he needed outside help in choosing the right digital publishing platform.  He partnered with Laura Fillmore at Open Book Systems (OBS), a publishing services company equipped to help publishers transition to digital. OBS helped OEM determine which titles should be made available in digital form and what capabilities were required in a digital publishing platform. After investigating many options, OBS recommended Tizra.

"It was a very easy decision in the end," says Vouwie. "Not only did Tizra's software give us the capabilities and control we were after, but their business model was more appealing because it let us retain our profits."

Tizra worked quickly to get OEM's ebooks ready in time for an important presentation to over 1,000 physicians. As part of the setup, Tizra also provided web design services, tailoring the look of OEM's Tizra-hosted storefront so it blends seamlessly with their existing website and supports the continued development of OEM's all-important brand. The design also took advantage of responsive techniques to automatically optimize for mobile and tablet users.

After going live, OEM has been able to take a DIY approach to managing its digital storefront, taking advantage of the simplicity and flexibility of the Tizra platform including:
  • Testing new pricing and promotions on the fly.
  • Introducing new products, including digital-only ebooks on niche topics.
  • Keeping content up-to-date without delays from intermediaries.
With the flexibility of the Tizra platform, the company has been able to experiment with new kinds of sales models, including higher-priced subscription options, targeted offers using coupon codes, discounts for multi-title purchases, and downloadable product offerings using Tizra's social DRM watermarking.

Meet us at Digital Book World, Jan 13-15

Digital Book World 2014
It's a sign of the times that this will be the first year Tizra exhibits at the Digital Book World Conference, now in its fifth year in New York City.  Traditionally, DBW has been all about trade publishing, and trade publishing has been all about selling through traditional retail channels, i.e., bookstores increasingly dominated by Amazon.

Tizra, on the other hand, has long been the choice of publishers who want to reach their readers directly.  Some because they feel that reader communities are the lifeblood of their business.  Others because they want to build their own brands.  Others because they don't want to put more than 30% of their revenue into someone else's pockets...particularly if that someone's long-term interests aren't necessarily aligned with theirs.

So why are we exhibiting this year?  Partly because the Tools of Change Conference, which we've attended since 2007, is no longer being held.  But also because there are signs that trade publishers are starting to see direct reader relationships really are key to the future of their businesses, just as many educational and professional publishers have realized for some time now.  Maybe both reasons are part of a larger trend toward a more mature, practical and independent approach to digital publishing throughout the industry.

We'll see.  In any case, we're excited to be meeting friends and colleagues in NYC, and hope to see you there!