Schnittman: in-house expertise 'unnecessary' for alternative content

Schnittman: in-house expertise 'unnecessary' for alternative content

Hachette Book Group USA sales and marketing chief Evan Schnittman has said publishers need to bring software development skills in-house to help them interact with customers—but should not be wasting time in developing in-house expertise in alternative content types like video.

In an interview newly posted by Digital Book World, Schnittman said that to be "nimble", a key attribute in the current environment, publishers should no longer be looking to outsource expertise because: "You can't know what it really takes to build software unless
you're actually doing it and have expertise in-house."

Schnittman told the site: "As a book publisher, the source of our content knowledge and expertise revolves around textual content. I'm not a believer in publishers venturing into avenues of content development such as video, interactive content. We're going to have greater expertise and knowledge in the movie studio industry, the gaming industry. We'll have relationships from the text out to those industries perhaps in a much more interactive and coinjoined way . . . But I'm not sure as an industry we'll get stronger in going to areas where we don't have expertise.

"The kind[s] of software development that I think publishers need to do revolve around how we interact with our customers and get our authors in front of those customers . . . How we build services and software to manage and service these types of customers is the kind of development we need to own and be experts in.

"But I'm not sure we need to develop alternative content types where we're not going to have the lion's share of the expertise."