Are you ready to start repurposing content?

Kris Vetter Tomes is the Digital Production Coordinator for children’s publisher Lerner Publishing Group, where she focuses on best practices in print and digital workflow, creation of digital book products, and repurposing existing content. She is also a freelance ebook developer for publishers throughout North America. She will be speaking at Tech Forum on a panel called Repurposing Content.

Publishers create a lot of content. Traditionally, publishers are focused on creating a print book and its standard digital counterpart, where the content lives until the book goes out of print and the digital version goes out of spec. But this content can be broken down into smaller components and reused elsewhere. Text content, art and photos, diagrams and graphs, and the less common audio and video content — i.e., assets — can live full, revenue-generating lives apart from their source book.

Let’s group this into two large categories: in-house and out-of-house repurposing. 


Many publishers are probably already repurposing content in-house, but aren't calling it that. As long as your company created the asset, you can reuse it in-house as much as you want.

Have you ever reused a photo from one book in another? Or a diagram from a non-fiction book in another book with a different reading level? How about repurposing artwork of a popular picture-book character for a simpler, board book version? Or taking a paragraph from a book and turning it into a sidebar for another book? Have you ever reused recipes from old cookbooks to create a new cookbook? How about reusing the audio file from an audiobook and adding it to a fixed-layout EPUB with synced highlighting for an enhanced ebook? Archiving assets in repositories or CMS systems can be a great way to quickly search for and find reusable content that your company already owns. 


This requires some research and a focus from sales staff. Who would be interested in reusing your content? Are you a rare resource for photos of a certain topic? Did you create how-to video clips for a DIY series? Do you have a huge backlist of biographies? There are hundreds of databases that purchase third-party content to beef up their offerings. Researching these options with your niche assets in mind is a great first step into this arena.

Databases aren’t the only place to put your repurposed content. Do you publish a lot of cookbooks? Talk to recipe websites. Do you specialize in craft books? Research craft magazines. Do you have a ton of non-fiction and educational assets? How about selling them chunked into chapters to a service that provides it to schools that create their own curriculum?

Think outside of the box. Do you have niche gardening content that would be great for a brochure for a large nursery and gardening company? Do you have a thick book of home improvement how-to’s that could be parsed into daily email tips from a national home improvement or hardware company? The possibilities are endless, and just because no one has done it before doesn’t mean you can’t.

Register for Tech Forum to hear about successful case studies of repurposing content and much more!