Sunday, February 22, 2009

Supply Chain Thoughts Part 2

How many books are given away as review, gratis, or inspection copies? In the academic world, inspection copies can often account for a double digit percentage volume of the initial print run. Someone said to us recently that the practice of passing around review copies like confetti had long stopped. We merely asked them to swivel round in their chair and describe what was on their shelves – free books. Of course you can’t sell anything if you don’t promote it and show a sample of it, but all too often, the giving is still easier than the monitoring.

Then we have the catalogues, flyers and advance information sheets. Digital marketing has certainly cut down the realms of glossy paper circulated in hope. However, given today’s technology and tightening credit squeeze, which comes first the physical flyer and catalogue or the digital one?

Digital marketing ensures that the control of the asset remains at the source, that the latest material and its consistency is guaranteed and interestingly you know what was read, when, in the case of direct marketing by whom and importantly what wasn’t read or even opened.

The ability to drive both bibliographic and marketing from digital content today is very real. There is no reason why the digital widget should be restricted to today’s ‘look inside’ only functionality. Widgets should be containers that are capable of distributing the richest information on demand; related tiles, web links, podcasts, videos, authors notes, reviews , advanced metadata, whatever. The question of then embedding widgets within widgets and creating digital catalogues is just a natural step.

We suggest that this perspective of digital marketing and metadata distribution changes not only what is distributed and working practices, but how it is created and aligned to digital content.

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