Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wigets Multiply Overnight

Predicting some things is easy. Only one day after HarperCollins announced their ‘Browse inside’ facility, Random House announced their ‘Insight’ one. Both service have adopted the same approach which enables others to add sample material from a title to their own website by use of that new word we will heart much of – the widget.

What becomes less predictable is who will be next? Also again how the bibliographic agencies will react and how those omnivore search engines will step on the digitisation accelerator re the smaller publishers.

What is clear is that we are now entering a new phase of bibliographic development far greater than that we saw ten years ago when suddenly jacket images became a must. This one is about using the content itself to promote the book in physical, digital, audio etc. Digital publishing is publishing and using digital content at the centre to provide a single authoritative source of context and rights metatdata is logical and one we have long spoken about. Building complex systems alongside this may be a duplication of effort and not the logical approach. Today the greatest driver for publisher’s to digitise their content, is not the ebook, but the support of their marketing, sales, publicity and promotion activities. I would be as bold as to suggest that those who follow this route will see a double digit return and this today is likely to be at the expense of others who have not responded to this exciting challenge.