Break the spine

<p>Today we are not digital, we merely distribute and potentially sell digital content. For many publishers, digitisation is performed after the physical book has been produced.<br />
<br />
Moving the digital issue into the editorial and production process is about increasing the publishing output options beyond print and profiting from improved productivity. It will provide greater control of assets, and the opportunity to create timely marketing copy while reducing costs.<br />
<br />
The word &ldquo;book&rdquo; covers a wide range of material: &ldquo;living content&rdquo; such as dictionaries and encyclopedias; educational content, where the same content source can generate multiple versions; children's and reference content; academic and STM works, which may have many contributors and are often managed as individual fragments; illustrated works and academic monographs. <br />
<br />
A work may start with a process template, but the reality is that schedules, revisions, people and time will force change. At best the process is reiterative, and at worst what some may call chaotic.<br />
<br />
The development team may consist of project managers, editors, agents, authors, production, rights and marketing representatives. They may be in different buildings, companies, countries and even time zones, all with different roles and responsibilities, communicating via email, phone and even Post-it Notes. All this communication is part of the solution and should be tagged to the content and not sit within an email silo. The individuals will also have additional roles and responsibilities. <br />
<br />
An editor, for example, working at any stage of the &shy;process should be capable of rendering the content to multiple formats: from print, PDF and e-books to ONIX, XML, web pages, Flash, preview chapters, blurbs and widgets. This enables them to not only see the look and feel of the content within different templates but also generate pre-production inspection copies, reviews, widgets, web copy, marketing copy, Advanced Information sheets and catalogues. <br />
<br />
The solution is a framework dependent on an underlying XML database. We must understand, there are many different ways to view a database. <br />
<br />
The cost benefits are significant and that is without the softer benefits associated with digital workflow, project management, quality, asset management and productivity. We are now at the stage when digital publishing becomes publishing and in doing so not only supports digital content but also digital context and digital rights. <br />
<br />
In supporting the creative people and digital processes, we truly do explode the book spine which has straight-jacketed us all for so many years.</p>