Raccah calls time on book publishers

Raccah calls time on book publishers

<p>Sourcebooks publisher Dominique Raccah has defended the&nbsp; publisher in the digital age, despite admitting that her company&rsquo;s role as only a &quot;book publisher&quot; was coming to an end. Raccah also questioned the future for enhanced e-books, saying that the revenue bore &quot;no relation to what I&rsquo;d consider to be reasonable&quot;, though she insisted she was in it for the long haul.</p><p>Speaking at Tools of Change Frankfurt on Tuesday (5th October), Raccah said that there were huge additional costs associated with publishers producing digital products. &quot;With printed books we ship exactly the same product to different retailers, not so with e-books, and that &lsquo;not so&rsquo; has some very large implications and enormous costs.&quot; She said publishers had to consider meta-data, the file format, the costs of enhanced media, and the ongoing developmental costs of products such as apps.</p><p>Unsurprisingly, Raccah rounded on the idea that e-books should be &quot;free or $0.99&quot;. She said: &quot;It comes from the concept that we are not adding any value, and I feel we are adding a lot of value, and it&rsquo;s not cheap.&quot; She added: &quot;Book publishing is not book printing, let&rsquo;s be really clear about that: if you think all publishers do is print, you have a problem.&quot;</p><p>Raccah admitted that moving into e-books had introduced 80 new steps into Sourcebooks&rsquo; workflow&mdash;all manual&mdash;adding that the proliferation of e-booksellers and e-book devices only added more layers of toil: &quot;As workflow explodes&quot;.</p><p>And Raccah conceded that the costs versus revenue ratio was a big issue, particularly for enhanced e-books, where there were additional costs around acquiring mixed media. &quot;There seems to be a hunger for enhanced media, and it should be selling something reasonable, but when I look at the numbers it bears no resemblance to what I&rsquo;d consider reasonable. As of now I haven&rsquo;t seen anyone show a real profit here, despite our moving very rapidly into the space. As of now this isn&rsquo;t a winning proposition.&quot;</p><p>Raccah&rsquo;s view was echoed by keynote speaker, author and tech blogger Jeff Jarvis, who closed the conference. Jarvis admitted that publishers would have to find where their value was in the digital age. &quot;Our value is not distribution, control and ownership, but in curating people, content, editing, teaching and promoting,&quot; he said. &quot;It might not be the same companies who find this value, but we will find it, and I salute the experiments.&quot; </p>