BISG's Making Information Pay 2010: The Highlights

A few of us from BNC made the trip to Manhattan for this year’s Making Information Pay from the Book Industry Study Group. This morning conference is always jam-packed with information, and this year was no exception. An overall theme was that we need to rethink the supply chain as we know itit’s no longer really a chain, more like a complex puzzle. Throughout the day it was called the supply rubix cube, the demand chain, and probably something else I don’t remember: I’m going to go with supply chainmail for the time being.

In the first half:

Mike Shatzkin, Founder & CEO, The Idea Logical Company

Mike reviewed and analyzed the pre-conference survey, which was meant to provide an understanding of how people in publishing view changes to their company and to the industry as a whole

Highlights: 62% of respondents believe Twitter is a fad

My opinion: While Twitter itself may be a fad, it highlights a desire for real-time, human communication and a breakdown of traditional means of corporate communication. People don’t want to be marketed to, they want to be talked with.

Kelly Gallagher, Vice President of Publishing Services, RR Bowker

Kelly showcased new data from PubTrack Consumer, displaying current consumer trends and comparing those to last year.

Highlights: We have to stop calling it the supply chain, and start thinking of it as a demand chain where the consumer is king or queen.

My opinion: I think publishers have been doing this forever. The audience is always taken into account when a book is published. The difference now is that digital formats are forcing us to take a closer look at the context surrounding what we produce. Since digital formats are out of the comfort zone of a lot of publishers, it requires more thought and effort. It’s still a supply chainthere are simply more end points now.

David Guenette, Senior Analyst, The Gilbane Group

David gave a talk about 7 essential processes that will help publishers prepare for digital transformation.

Highlights: If you start in a neutral format, flexibility will be easier later on.

My opinion: this is extremely important, but often explained in a way that makes XML seem too complicated and impossible to implement. This is the talk that led to me tweeting: “We need to start explaining start with XML in a way that everyone understands. Won’t be adopted otherwise. #mip.” There are simple and easy solutions out there that even the smallest, least techy publisher can adopt, so we need to start talking about those solutions.

Jabin White, Director of Strategic Content, Wolters Kluver Health’s Professional & Education

Jabin talked about his experience going through major process changes within his company: what they did well and what they would, well, do differently next time.

Highlights: Knowing when to change is as important as knowing how to change. And connect change to the people.

My opinion: This was a great presentation. Jabin wasn’t afraid to be open and honest about his experiences. Often, we feel like we have to change to keep up with the rest of the industry, but in the end you need to do what’s right for your company at the right time.

George Lossius, Publishing Technology Plc

George focused on how publishers can decide to invest in technology when everything is changing so rapidly.

Highlights: Systems that are key to current business can stifle innovation.

My opinion: This is great reinforcement to what I believe: sometimes you need to be willing to drop something that isn’t working, recognizing that it might be preventing you from moving forward.

After the break:

The second half of the morning focused on changing roles within publishing houses. Each session looked at one role: editors, production managers, marketing managers, and the sales team


  • The book as an object is just a presentation of the content.
  • Store content without any form attached.
  • Workflow shifts: from a push model, to a centralized, collaborative pull model Bad ebook formatting is not acceptable; consumers are going to start calling us on it.
  • The role of the sales professional has changed from relationship management, to inventory management, to data management.

Slides from the presentations will be posted shortly. I’ll update with location when I get the information.

Update: Slides are up! Check them out on SlideShare .

Were you at Making Information Pay? What did you think?