Maps, classics, and other use cases, Duncan Enright on FBF 2014

One thing I was happy to come across at FBF this year, was books. It never fails to amaze me how much good, old fashioned publishing there is out there, which is easy to forget when you spend time on cutting edge digital projects.

Journals have completely changed of course – you won’t find many paper journal publishers nowadays, but books, it’s a different story.

The difference is the use case. The main use case of journals is to record, publicise and find research that people have done, then use it to inform further research, "standing on the shoulders of giants" as Newton suggested. It’s a little more complicated than that, but not much. So the move to digital has been a little smoother because there is one overwhelmingly common use case and a largely shared interest of authors and readers.

Books, on the other hand, have traditionally been used for a wide range of purposes. When I first went to FBF there were lots of publishers of directories – that’s all completely gone now. There are still lots of atlases about, because people like beautiful maps – but functional, navigational information has gone digital.

It’s similar story with classic books: there used to be workmanlike editions, published to make them accessible. Now you don’t get that so much, because they’re all available as free digital ebooks. What you do get is those same texts, annotated, or with study notes, or a new and important introduction, or in a glorious, beautiful folio edition or handy pocket volume. The nature of publishing in this area has totally changed.

One of the things Frankfurt is good at is giving beautiful publishing a great showcase. It’s always enjoyable to browse the publishers who package their products as sumptuous gifts, rather than library objects.

One thing I noticed was that the big e-learning companies, the education corporations with no publishing heritage but who are creating MOOCs and software and apps aplenty, just don’t go to FBF, so the major textbook companies are left dominating the floor. It is almost, at FBF, as if these left-field digital competitors don’t exist. But of course, they do, they just don’t go to Frankfurt. In other fields they are present even if not exhibiting, so for example PLOS roam the floor of the Fair along with the other evolving beasts of STM, where the digital players are more mature.

It’s important not to come away with a skewed view of the state of digital, when plenty of digital companies don’t have a stand. I presume they just can’t get a return on investment from being at a fair which is still mainly a place where publishers meet book buyers. The biggest beasts in the jungle, Amazon and Google were there, but just showing a leg not baring their teeth. Google in particular is fascinating; having changed the landscape for reference and learning, they concentrate on what is a pretty peripheral element of their vocation to do good: a modest presentation of Google Books.

On a personal level, I was there to catch up with people. Interestingly, and I’m sure everyone in the industry would say this, I’ve had lots of conversations with people that came about because of organising my time at Frankfurt – but those conversations didn’t necessarily happen on the floor at FBF, they happen the week before or the week after. As an industry we need these focal points to remind us to get in touch with each other, and that’s part of what makes FBF so important.

The thing I ended up talking about, more than anything, was the range of services that Maverick can offer. There are so many of us Mavericks now. We’re experienced in content, editorial work, sales and marketing, digital, technology projects, strategy, logistics… people are talking to us about all sorts of different potential projects.

The International Association of STM Publishers meeting takes place the day before the Fair opens, and was fascinating as usual. I particularly liked an interesting session on social media that made me think that we’re all in very different points in our journey. There was a great session with young academics talking about the difficulties they face. The divide between those with tenure, and those without, can be quite marked, and we are close to a point where aspiring academics are indentured servants to star academics, on zero-hour contracts below the living wage. Is this really how we think the best research is done? The publishers got an insight into how to influence the postdoc community to both read and submit, and the researchers had a chance to influence an important part of the wider academic community. It was a standout session that I hope we’ll see more of in future.  

Author: Duncan Enright

 

Maverick Senior Associate Aviva Weinstein will be speaking at the 2015 ASA Annual Conference held on 16th and 17th February. We asked for a sneak preview on the questions she’ll be asking (and answering)…

How to put the library back at the centre of searching and content management

With more information being driven via the internet and the alarming inaccuracy of information that can be easily "discovered" libraries need to evolve to serve their patrons.  The talk will look at lessons to learn from the changes libraries have made over the last decade, understand what the threats are to scholarly information today and discuss how the both the library, and the information professionals who work in it, might further change to ensure the integrity of information patrons are able to access.

[Read more...]

FBF2014 The European perspective

Katja Oechel joined Maverick this year and attended FBF to chat with European publishers and companies. Based in Berlin and specialising in marketing communications, she reports back on her FBF experience…

For me, this year’s fair was about making contact with lots of my old friends and colleagues.  I’m based in Germany and met with a lot of German publishing companies. I’ve also worked in London. It’s interesting that the issues are the same, and ‘hot topics’ are the same across countries. But there are plenty of cultural differences in the way publishers work. There’s a difference in emphasis between the UK publishers, the publishers in the Netherlands, and the ones in Germany, but in the end, it’s one big global business – that's part of the appeal.

[Read more...]

Spot the Maverick at Frankfurt Book Fair

Mavericks are out in force this week at FBF, in fact, if you’re planning to visit Halle 4.2 you’ll probably find it tricky to avoid them.

New CEO Darren Gillgrass*, will be there talking licensing, sales, product and market development and top level publishing strategy. He can also talk to you about continuing medical education, continuing professional development and e-healthcare if you have an interest here – he has a lot of expertise from past positions and divisions he ran.

From the US George Farina, new Senior Associate**, will be in attendance. You can ask him about international expansion, distributor networks and global partnering, cost-effective sales expansion into new markets, restructuring and building sales organizations, high profile customer relationships and excellence in customer service. Or if it’s after six o’clock chat to him about his eight years living in Tokyo – you can’t work all the time!

Duncan Enright, Affiliate Associate, is the one to find if you’re looking for a background in medicine, engineering, business and management and science and technology. Duncan's expertise lies in spotting opportunities for growth, finding and working with the right authors and organisations, deciding on the right way to bring the information to the professional workflow, and new publishing technologies. His background in working with professional societies has also included winning professionals over to new knowledge products (not as simple as it should be! we all know that) and working with stakeholders in a profession to create a new offering.

Katja Oechel, Associate in Marketing and Market Research, will be travelling in from Berlin to eulogise the city’s thriving digital media start-up scene and chat marketing communications in Europe.

Our beloved leader, Martin Marlow, will, of course, be in attendance. Grab him of you want to talk about anything at all. Martin is particularly interested to meet anyone who can lend him a short range teleportation device, given the amount of meetings he has arranged – just until we manage to get him cloned***.

Have fun everyone!

Author: Megan Toogood

*More about him in later blogs
**And him
***Martin doesn’t know we’re getting him cloned, best not to mention it quite yet.

 

Maverick Publishing Specialists to support NISO in growing membership base

Maverick will promote NISO membership to publishers, library and corporate organizations to help grow number of members.

Maverick Publishing Specialists, the specialist strategic consultancy and outsource services company for the publishing industry, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with National Information Standards Organization (NISO) to promote more active involvement in the NISO community and help develop new membership. The scope of work includes liaising with publishers and industry organizations from around the world to review the benefits of joining NISO and then encouraging them to join up.

Speaking of the agreement, Martin Marlow, President Maverick Publishing Specialists, said, “We’re delighted to be able to help NISO with their continued growth. We have been in discussions with Todd Carpenter, Executive Director of NISO, to identify the ways in which we can support NISO and are thrilled that an agreement has been reached. With the number of Associates we now have all around the world, we are eager to help NISO gain members from all regions and market sectors. We look forward to working with Todd and his team over the coming months to encourage active involvement in this vital, and rapidly expanding industry organization.”

Todd Carpenter, commented “We’re very pleased to appoint Maverick in this ambassadorial and outreach role for NISO. Maverick associates have a wealth of knowledge of the information industry and we are confident that they can help us reach the companies and organizations we wish to attract and encourage their participation in NISO. We look forward to working with them.”

The Maverick team has already undergone initial orientation with the NISO membership offerings and already has a number of conversations already set up for the Frankfurt Bookfair. Any organisation wishing to find out more about the new relationship or meet at the Fair – or gain more information regarding the benefits of being a member of NISO – should contact George Farina, Senior Associate, at george@maverick-os.com.