Frankfurt Book Fair Day 3: Yes! Publishers Can Innovate!

In a traditional industry, innovation lets publishers focus on what is important.

Publishing is often thought of as a traditional industry. One where words are hand crafted, the book is artfully laid out and the meaning conveyed to a reader idyllically lounging under a tree or snuggled up in a cozy chair. These, often correct, images belie the turbulence and transformations of the publishing industry. In the past 15 years, this industry has raced to stay ahead of the massive changes in how content is created, consumed and monetized. From the initial digital products to tailored information delivery and now reflexive, responsive content, the industry has stayed on track to by adopting new techniques, new technologies and in many cases new business models.

Through it all, publishing has never forgotten what is important. In fact, this focus is what drives most successful transformations: nothing is more important than getting your content to your fans, customers and users so it can entertain, change lives and in many cases help make the world a better place.


Day 3: Publishing & Innovation

The publishers I visited with today at the Book Fair certainly fit the innovation model. These MarkLogic customers represent a broad cross-section of the industry. But all share their focus on embracing innovation, creating value with data and delivering engaging and valuable experiences to their customers.

In Hall 4.2 many of the Stands (what booths are called at the fair) are from the Scientific, Technical and Medical publishing community.

MarkLogic customers in 4.2 include a raft of standards organizations and technical associations. Warning: these organizations are often know by their abbreviations! This year the list included IEEE, IET IOP APA, AIP, NEJM, SAE CABI RSC and OECD.

There are also many commercial publishers in the hall including Springer, DeGruyter, Thieme, Wiley, Elsevier, and Wolters Kluwer.

We also visited with our customer (via RSuite) Brill Publishing. This publisher of rich academic works specializes in covering modern and ancient languages, has developed their own typeface to be able to present these unique works with fidelity and boast that they cover “over three centuries of scholarly publishing”. MarkLogic’s ability to manage languages and characters was key for Brill to streamline their production using RSuite.

Oliver R.L. de Vlam, the EVP of Finance and Operations, says that the RSuite product implementation has gone quickly, they have their books and most journals in the system and that “everything so far has gone very well.” Good work RSuite team!

We also visited with our customer DIN and their publishing partner Beuth Verlag. Holger Koch, Team Lead and Project Manager Semantic Technolgies, is well known to the MarkLogic community — and not just for his tweets.

Holger was joined us on our booth with product development team at Beuth for a discussion on the new trends in delivery. Holger is a great resource for this discussion, having just published, with his team members Hubertus Wiluhn and Michael Esser “Digiatale Content-Dienstleistungen aus dem zentralen XML Content Repository” in the journal DIN Mitteilungen. It follows the strategic progression to create and access granular content for multiple outputs and the impact this has already had for DIN and Beuth. This builds on his first article with Cord Wischhoefer “Die XML-Datenbank der DIN-Gruppe” Yes they are in German – but I’ll give you a hint: Datenbank means database 🙂

And finally our customer and partner Newbooks/MVB stopped by. This team created the great VLB-TIX product. This book marketplace now has over 200 of the leading publishers in Germany and, according to Sandra Schuessel, has executed “millions of transactions between book sellers and publishers.”

Stefan Schwedt, CIO of NEWBOOKS joined Sandra for a visit. For those of you that don’t know Stefan, his MarkLogic World presentation was one of the best at the event and is a must see for anyone in the industry! Visit their Stand in 3.1 for a presentation (in German) of book data in the industry tomorrow morning.

Speeding Content Access with Inera

Also in hall 4.2 are the many technology providers that are helping the publishing industry stay ahead of the changes. Our partner Inera held a 4.2 Hot Spot session to talk about how XML publishing can speed content creation workflows and help get valuable content to users faster.

However, creating XML can be difficult and instead of original “XML dream” of XML authoring or the expensive and manual post layout XML create, Bruce Rosenbaum, CEO of Inera, charted a middle way to enable flexible authoring with the pervasive tool MS Word, but then create XML and drive production with much more efficient XML Workflows.

As an example, Bruce talked about the World Health Organization. Their project to move to XML workflows focused on reducing the time to create new content. In the event of a health crisis, having access to the latest information can make all the difference. Taking the XML middle approach, WHO is now able to publish content as soon as they get new information, reducing a days long process to just hours.

Immanens Brings Immediate Action

Joining us on our Stand this year is our partner Immanens. Philippe Belin, the founder and CEO of Immanens and Bertrand Lechat also represent the Frankfurt Book Fair special guest country this year, France. They made an immediate splash at the Stand, hosting a large tour group from Educational Systemics that was visiting with all of the French Technology companies at the fair!

Immanens was founded to bring innovation to publishing and the name is latin and means the action inside – a good metaphor for enabling change in the industry.

The team got their start with the Retro News site for the BNF – Biblioteque National de France. They created the entire process to digitize the news starting with early tracts published in 1640 (!!) and up until 1940.

In addition to digitizing and indexing the news, they also mange the site as an ongoing service with new material added as the archive growth. Content geeks: note the excellent in-image word highlighting of search results!

From this work, Immanems developed a suite of products and tools including news and magazine e-delivery platforms, an e-reader and suite of e-learning tools.

Immanens has been working with MarkLogic in France as a strategic partner, helping our team navigate the complexity of French publishing and using MarkLogic to explore the next generation of tools.

This includes the next generation of the tool Layout. Today, to create a digital edition, the design of the articles and the layout of the package have to all be pre-defined and fixed for each type of device.

With the new Layout, users can select articles, pick custom predefined layouts for each article and then publish the custom digital package with full design control over the entire product.

Working with their reader tools, the content will be display with its unique presentation across every device and can be secured with the latest content protection technology from Adobe and Sony.

This is a big leap forward for the online news and magazine space. The tool enables publishers to dynamically create collections and products and maintain the editorial and design control all the while leveraging automated processed to manage the data and create the digital products.

#FBM17 Wrap Up

This will be the final blog in my series bringing the great conversations and content from the Frankfurt Book Fair 2017 to everyone following along online.

On Day 1 we heard from world leaders Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel about the importance of content. We say the industry in action at the STM Frankfurt meeting and covered our partner EBCONT’s work on an award winning product with Thieme.

On Day 2 data took center stage with Copyright Clearance Center focusing on data driven transformation and our Partner RSuite’s 5.3 release extending their range to enable customers to leverage data and creat insights from data in their content.

Friday will be our last day at the Frankfurt Book Fair. If you are here at the fair, please come see us in Hall 4.2 C57 and also join me at 10am in the Publishing Services Hot Spot Hall 4.0 J37 for the session “Can Publishers Innovate?.”

If you have been following along online, I hope you have enjoyed the content! Please share these blogs and follow me at @matt_turner_nyc for more from the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Thanks everyone for another great Frankfurt Book Fair!

— Matt Turner
CTO Media & Publishing