Publishing on the Internet

Editors are being pressured to do somethingin electronic publishing. They are told that other companies are using the Internet to store information, make it readily retrievable, and share it throughout the world. The fact is that publishing companies are just starting to enter this strange world and need to know the current status of the Internet.
     The Internet as a whole is doubling in size every year. It is not homogenous:some parts are less dynamic and tend to be forgotten, while one part (the World Wide Web [www]) is among the largest growth areas in all of today’s society. And that high rate of growth creates market instability, which must be a critical factor in your plans.

Marketing versus distribution
The distinction between marketing and distribution is important. You can visit the Amazon home page and browse catalogs and even read a few sample pages from books. You then place your order and the book will arrive from UPS. In this case, the book is being marketedon the Internet and is distributedby UPS .
     At other sites, you can read a book and download its files for printing at home. Or you can browse for specific information, as you would browse the shelves of a library.

Marketing via the Internet
www exceeds even the hype of its most vocal supporters as a marketing channel, and Neilsen (famous for television ratings) is now evaluating home pages. People currently spend more time with www than all of the time spent watching video rentals in the United States, and web time is expected to approach domestic television time this year.
     All market profiles stress the upscale nature of the Internet market—high income, high education, high intelligence, North American and European, etc. And yet it takes surprisingly little money to reach this market:user-friendly programs are available to help you create a home page, and page maintenance can be less than $600 per year. On the other side, home pages like Hitachi’s are reported to cost $250,000 to produce and $42,000 a month to maintain. The difference lies with the anticipated and proven competence of the agents responsible for developing home pages and the rates they command.

Distribution via the Internet
There currently is no commercialdistribution of product on the Internet—you can download portions of books, but a secure payment mechanism is still in the future.
     Marketers currently let you download chapters of a book. You can print out this material and read it at home: if you like it, you can call an 800 number to purchase a licensing number that opens the file for the final chapters. Publishers are finding that people may read a chapter on the net, but prefer to purchase the final, hard copy rather than spend the time and money downloading and printing the total file.
     The bottom line: Books can be easily placed on the Web, but for what purpose if there is no payment to the author/publisher?

Technology of the net
High growth rates are inversely proportional to market stability. Strategic planners have long recognized that high growth rates of a market signal both great opportunities and great risk.
     We recognize the potential of the Web, but also must realize that it is difficult to predict what technology will emerge, or what company will become dominant. A year ago, an informed observer might have predicted that the future of books on the Web would be in the form of hypertext markup language (HTML). Now, that same observer might predict that Web books will be in Adobe’s printer device format (pdf).
     Publishers like HarperCollins have home pages and claim that these are successful in reaching their market. Bookstores like Amazon and Barnes and Noble vie for ascendency on the Web—but neither of these electronic operations are profitable. High traffic sites like Yahoo and Netscape will promote books from their sites—for a hefty fee—but there is no guarantee that these ads generate actual sales.

No one can predict how the e-market will evolve or when it will solidify into an opportunity for publishers. The best you can do is to keep options open and be prepared to move quickly when (not if) opportunities occur. When this market coalesces, opportunity willknock for your books.
     We have archived every project that we have ever set. We started this process 12 years ago to make future revisions easier. Little did we realize then that we were keeping the option open to place alternative editions on the World Wide Web! Because of our archives, we can immediatelydownload these books so that you can take advantage of the opportunity when it knocks.

For further information, please email us, including your name, affiliation, and areas of interest, and we will get back to you quickly.

Generic Compositors
152 Starheim Road
Stamford, NY 12167
607 652-BOOK (2665)
815 346-5272 (fax)
email us

Copyright © 2001 Generic Compositors, a Division of Stonecrest Industries, Inc. 1/27/12 12:56 PM


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