I think it is a question that’s especially vital for small and medium publishers.
What’s more it’s one that acts as a good acid test of your digital strategy and where your thinking is on the future direction of publishing. And the question is:
Who Is Your Digital Publisher?
What were the stories? Well, lets start with the news that Taschen announced that it has appointed a digital publisher, move along a little to the news that Penguin’s new digital publisher is a former music industry professional and let’s round it off with the news that Canongate has lost their Digital Guru to Random House.
What these stories all have in common is that companies, large and small are making clever moves to grab the digital bull by the horns, moving away from just having the TECHNICAL CAPABILITY to produce and sell their books in digital formats towards putting someone in place with an editorial or creative vision for how to exploit the medium.
Most small companies can’t afford to put someone on this full-time, that much is probably a given (although if you can, then you should), but someone really should be devoting at least a third, if not half, of their time to the issue.
AND they need to be considering more than just contracts, conversion, distribution and price. That part of the job is now routine, essential and commonplace. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done or that your digital publisher shouldn’t be doing it, but it does mean that your digital publisher needs to be looking at more. At how to create value, draw and keep attention and how to drive revenue from digital publishing.
So tell me:
– Who is your digital publisher?
– What IS their role?
– What does this say about your strategy?