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Sourcebooks NEXT.

Sourcebooks Next Blog

We’re at a historic point in the transformation the book.

Ebooks, reading devices, retailers and e-tailers, software and apps, and all the cool things we haven’t even imagined yet are changing the face of reading, entertainment and learning. Sourcebooks Next is our blog looking not from the perspective of pundit or prognosticator, but from the perspective of a publisher deeply engaged in the workings of the transformation. Please feel free to join us.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Publishers Weekly recently asked nine publishing executives to comment on how their company is preparing for the transition of print to digital and the impact this transformation will have on their businesses. 

Below is Dominique’s statement on how digital has transformed Sourcebooks, and what we believe about the present and future of publishing.  You can read the full article here.

“Looking for the 50% Solution”

Publishers Weekly

December 30, 2011

Dominique Raccah, President and publisher, Sourcebooks

E-books already constitute over half of sales in two parts of Sourcebooks business. As a result, there has been tremendous impact on strategy and models, which will continue to evolve over the next  five years. And as the market changes, we have to continue building the infrastructure to accommodate digital, both from an architecture and an innovation point of view.

As devices and software change, integrate, and inevitably segregate again, we have to be ready to deliver great experiences for each device. At Sourcebooks, we’re always looking for increases in functionality—for example, look at what’s happening with children’s picture books, where last year’s e-ink obstacles are being replaced by joyous tablet opportunities. Imagining what might be next is an important part of the job.

Over the next five years, we believe that building vertical platforms will make an enormous difference to our company. For some of our authors, there’s a very real new set of opportunities that we are creating for them—new platforms, new models, new ways to reach readers. It is (I think) going to provide some significant revenue streams down the road.

We also expect to discover and formalize new ways to work with our bricks-and-mortar retail partners. You can already see the outline of that in the work we’ve been doing with Anderson’s Bookshops, the ABA, and our college authors. Expect publishers and retailers to create more of those kinds of opportunities together. It’s certainly one of the things we’re working on. And I think you can expect publishers to have much broader relationships—with retailers, digital partners, affinity communities, authors, agents, multimedia resources, and other content providers among them. You can expect us to be “publishing” far more than just printed books and e-books.

I’m incredibly excited about what the book and storytelling itself will look like in five years, and how broad readership might be by then. That’s probably the thing that excites me the most. We (the publishing industry) are at the center of a remarkable conversation. This is in some ways a glorious time for books—with more readers, more writers, and more outlets than ever before.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Sourcebooks Adds Financial Aid Resources to Rapidly Expanding Education Portfolio

Financial Fit Revolutionizes the College Search Process by Addressing Affordability First

(Naperville, IL)—Dec. 5, 2011 - Student debt has surpassed credit card debt for the first time in U.S. history, and the amount of outstanding student loans is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2011. College seniors graduated with an average of $25,250 in student loans in 2010, up 5 percent from the previous year, according to The Project on Student Debt.

Every year, thousands of college-bound students and parents face the complexity and anxiety associated with filing for and receiving their college financial aid packages, as well as making decisions that will affect them financially for years to come. In fact, financial aid was cited as the most challenging aspect of the college process, according to a recent survey of guidance counselors.

In a process fraught with myths and misinformation, families often find out at the last minute that the colleges of their choice come with unexpectedly high financial burdens.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Barnes & Noble Chairman Len Riggio gave the keynote address Friday morning at PubWest 2011. I had the pleasure of introducing him and then found I spent much of the day thinking about what he said. So I just wanted to share some of what he said (and I apologize in advance to Mr. Riggio for any errors or misrepresentations here which are strictly my own):

On books, pricing and reading

  • “The affordability of books turned me into a voracious reader.”
  • “Does anyone still believe that book sales are inelastic?”

On possibilities and publishing

  • “The problem as I see it now is that too many see this as a zero sum game, a Darwinian embrace for market share.”
  • “It’s not just [about] the store or device— it’s about the possibilities of content.”
  • “I think the digital marketplace is exponentially bigger than others think.”
  • “Market size is readily expandable with imagination and vision.”
  • We are now at the tip of the iceberg of possibility.”

On culture and books

  • “These publishers taught me that books were the building blocks of a civilized society and it was our job was to make them widely available.”
  • “Is it possible to be literate without reading books?”

On entrepreneurs and publishing

  • “[This transformation] can’t be done by sitting in an armchair. You have to roll up sleeves and do it.”
  • “[You can see this] bubbling of entrepreneurialism. This is going to bring publishing back.” He later added: “You can see small publishers coming back. This is a return to what publishing used to be.”

On the value of bookstores and publishers

  • “How do you navigate a catalog of 20 million books?” And then later: “[This is one of the reasons] you will need publishers and booksellers.”
  • “The potential is limitless. The public cannot navigate [this much content] without you. Unedited unpublished content doesn’t work, and the proposition gets stronger as content explodes.”
  • “Can publishers exist without bookstores? What if you cut off the spigot that nourishes the whole marketplace?”
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One of Sourcebooks’s most important discoveries in the digital transformation has been the dramatic new level to which precise metadata has elevated our business results—both in discovery and in closing sales. In his presentation from the Frankfurt Book Fair, Editorial Manager Peter Lynch discusses the impact of metadata on editorial and sales. From a publishing perspective, he describes the importance of creating a metadata culture and provides a practical approach to capturing metadata in every department.

10 26 2011MetadataPresentation1

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