Friday, November 14, 2008

Mike Shatzkin and StartwithXML

This morning, I attended the beginning of BISG's BISAC meeting, so that I could see Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Company present selected results from his recent "StartwithXML" Survey. For more info, go here:, or if you're not sure what XML is, go to Tools of Change's "XML" explanation.

Also, learn more at the upcoming StartwithXML (Why and How) one-day forum. It will be held in the McGraw-Hill Auditorium on January 13, 2009. Details and registration here, and friends of Publishing Trends get an special discount for a limited time:

  • $100 off the full-day conference; register between 11/21 and 1/1/09; use code pubtrends
  • $50 off the half-day conference; register between 11/21 and 1/1; use code pubtrends_halfday
On to the preliminary survey results:
  • About 100 people completed the survey.
  • 54% of respondents were from all or partly trade publishers; 36% non-trade.
  • Most were from big houses. 77% were not IT professionals--Shatzkin pointed out that it was good to get a response from people who aren't directly involved with XML. BUT there was a light response from editorial (13%), marketing (7%), and sales (5%)--XML is still the purview of "the hard side of the publishing house."
The survey supported the idea that publishers still aren't so sure about all this digital stuff:
  • In response to the statement, "Digital is very important and informs everything we do": 40% of NON-TRADE publishers agree, but only 18% of trade publishers agree.
  • 43% of trade publishers say they are "trying to understand" the importance of digital.
I learned the term "downstream re-use": use of a book's content beyond the print edition. When publishers acquire a book, are they thinking about using its content for something after that first print edition? Not really:
  • 19% of trade publishers say they ignore downstream use when they acquire a book, as compared to 9% of non-trade publishers.
  • 34% of trade publishers say they basically ignore chunking and re-combining opportunities--what Shatkin calls the "sexiest parts" of XML.
Shatzkin says that expanded editions of books are an untapped opportunity--only 8% of trade publishers are actively offering them, but they "should become automatic," and second printings of books should always have something in them that the first printing didn't have.

Since two-thirds of those surveyed agreed that digital is "important" or "very important," they might do well to attend the conference and learn more about XML.


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