Check out this interview with Sourcebooks CEO and Publisher Dominique Raccah. After participating in the CEO Panel at Digital Book World, Dominique explained to GoodEReader why she’s so excited about the publishing transformation and coming innovations in the juvenile book space, including ebooks and enhanced digital books.
To watch the video and read the full article, click here.
A New Platform for Authors--Faster, More Flexible, and with Reader Feedback
Sourcebooks is excited to announce the creation of an Agile Publishing Model (APM) that will allow for the rapid and interactive development of books, ebooks, articles, videos, and other content by its authors, where the content evolves through a partnership between the author and their community. This framework allows for a more iterative publishing process—making content available faster, getting real-time customer feedback, and shaping the final product based on the collaboration between the author and customer.
“The traditional publishing model—long schedules, creating in a vacuum, lack of involvement with the readers of the end product—drives some authors crazy,” says Dominique Raccah, CEO and publisher of Sourcebooks. “This model is a great fit for experts who are highly immersed in their field and where the field is evolving rapidly.”
Entering the Shift Age, by futurist, advisor, and speaker David Houle, will be the first book published under this model in fall 2012. Sourcebooks will release several related ebooks and other materials from Houle as part of the APM over the upcoming months.
“The model came to our attention from work O’Reilly Media was doing, and what was really interesting to me was having a physical book come at the end of a community-building process,” says Raccah.
Houle is one of the featured keynote speakers at the Digital Book World Conference & Expo on January 25. Raccah will speak at the opening panel of the conference (“The CEO’s Perspective: Lessons Learned”; January 24), where she will discuss the Sourcebooks APM.
Attendees of the conference will receive an exclusive ebook, featuring an excerpt from Houle’s book The Shift Age and a compilation of his publishing-related columns, and will be invited to join the Entering the Shift Age blog that will serve not only as the community site for review and discussion of the book, but also as a platform for the development of the Sourcebooks APM.
“One of the reasons we are really excited to announce this new model at Digital Book World is that we will be able to test it with individuals who are interested in new, innovative ways to bring content to readers,” says Raccah. “We want this group to be the first to interact with David’s content, provide feedback, and think through various models within the project. What better way to launch than with a futurist.”
Working together, Houle and the blog community will shape and change the content as the book moves from its initial stages as an interactive, digital platform to a “traditionally published” product.
“I’m thrilled to be with Sourcebooks,” says Houle. “I have been searching for a publisher to partner with on inventive, inclusive, future-facing publishing models—Dominique and her team are doing just that, ahead of the curve in so many ways.”
The Sourcebooks APM will be used across a variety of subject matter and content with nonfiction, expert-based authors. Anyone interested in learning more about agile publishing, and joining the Entering the Shift Age community, can sign up at our Agile Publishing Blog. To learn more about Sourcebooks, its authors, or its manuscript submission process, visit www.sourcebooks.com.
About David Houle
As a futurist and strategist, Houle has always been slightly ahead of the curve. He is often called the “CEOs’ futurist,” having spoken to or advised 2,000+ CEOs and business owners in the past four years. Houle spent more than 20 years in media and entertainment. He has worked at NBC, CBS, and was part of the senior executive team that launched MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, and CNN Headline News. He won two Emmys, a Peabody, and was nominated for an Academy Award. David’s most recent book, The New Health Age: the Future of Health Care in America, coauthored with Jonathan Fleece, sets forth what health care and medicine will look like in the years ahead. He is the futurist in residence and a faculty member at The Ringling College of Art & Design. David writes the highly regarded futurist blog www.evolutionshift.com, and can be found on Twitter @evolutionshift, as well as YouTube.
About The Shift Age
The Shift Age is about humanity’s new era. As the Information Age gives way to the Shift Age, we are entering a time of transformation and change that offers both great risk and incredible opportunity. David Houle identifies and explains the dynamics and forces that already have reshaped and will continue to reshape our world for the next 20 years. He comments from the front lines of the Shift Age on issues and topics that affect our lives. We have entered the final, global stage of humanity’s cultural, social, and economic evolutionary journey: The Shift Age.
About Dominique Raccah and Sourcebooks
Dominique Raccah (@draccah) is the CEO and Publisher of Sourcebooks, where she is in charge of creating the future—not just a future for the company but for authors, readers, and the book itself. The classic example of a successful entrepreneur, Dominique has driven innovation and expansion by kicking her way out of boxes and creating possibility where none existed. The result has been double digit annual revenue growth over the past 10 years, twenty-five New York Times bestsellers, #1 category leaders that range from baby names books to college guides, and a publishing company that many consider on the leading edge of the digital transformation. Most recently, Dominique has managed the launch of the new cutting-edge education division, Sourcebooks EDU.
Dominique currently serves as co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Book Industry Study Group. For Sourcebooks news and announcements, visit the NEXT blog and follow us on Twitter @Sourcebooks.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder
for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present.
And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.
We must be hatched or go bad.
It is undeniable: we are at transformation. And I suspect that 2012 may well be the most important year in any of our professional lives and, quite possibly, in the history of the book.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of our 2011 year-end results for Sourcebooks. While these data points are just for one publisher, we believe that they can help us better think about the year that we get to create in 2012. I hope that they help you as well. I’d love to hear other comments and ideas about year-end 2011, so feel free to discuss.
2011 was the best year in our history! We weren’t sure what to think about this year, but strong growth in the ebook, gift, and mass markets drove our overall increase.
Clearly 2011 was the year of the ebook. Our ebook sales were more than double the forecast (which we thought was aggressive). Our conversations with other publishers and the data we’ve seen suggest that we’re not alone.
Though many questioned the long-term viability of the printed book (p-book) going into 2011, impressive performance from our bookselling partners limited p-book decline. The exciting news is that several publishers grew their POS sales, and Sourcebooks was among those to show growth. With the right strategic focus, we believe that print books can remain strong.
What will 2012 look like? If the week of Christmas is any indication, decline of print book sales looks modest and increase in ebook sales looks incredibly strong. With a continued increase in devices comes even more opportunity to reach new readers and users with our authors’ books.
Could a shift in ebook market share be in our future? While retailer market share for our ebooks has remained relatively consistent throughout 2011, Barnes & Noble’s Nook steadily gained share in the fourth quarter and posted amazing growth during December and the week of Christmas.
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”
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.
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