Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Springer launches SpringerBriefs & Tips for eBooks

Springer has announced the launch of a new product line named SpringerBriefs. These short form books running 50 to 125 pages will feature cutting-edge research and practical applications and will be available as eBooks and in print. The company explains that the new product line will cover a wide range of content from professional to academic across a variety of subject areas including business and economics, computer science, human and behavioral sciences, life sciences, mathematics and physical sciences. More from their press release:
Typical topics might include a report on state-of-the-art techniques, a snapshot of a hot or emerging topic, an in-depth case study or a presentation of core concepts for students.

Expert advisory boards and collaborations with academic societies will contribute to generating high-quality content. Streamlined publishing processes and accelerated schedules will take authors’ ideas to market more swiftly than with previous methods. The first titles are scheduled to release in November and December 2010.

All SpringerBriefs titles will be included in the Springer eBook packages that are delivered to libraries and institutions via SpringerLink. They will also be available for sale, through Springer's retail partners, in print or as eBooks for around US$40−50. SpringerBriefs will also be available in print at lower prices through MyCopy, Springer’s print-on-demand program for registered patrons of libraries that subscribe to the Springer eBook Collections.

“As scientific communication evolves, Springer’s portfolio of products must evolve as well. With SpringerBriefs we have created a forum to rapidly publish smaller ‘chunks’ of content yet still maintain the high-quality standards that our authors and customers expect,” said Paul Manning, Executive Vice President Computer Science at Springer.

In a somewhat related story George Scotti, channel marketing director for Springer Science+Business Media was interviewed by BookBusiness Magazine recently and offered these four tips for boosting e-book sales to libraries:

1. Set your content free.

Publish e-books without digital rights management (DRM), and allow concurrent users to access content. “In a database environment, allowing multiple users to access the content provides a better [user] experience … [and] helps to drive usage. Without DRM, users can also share content freely on multiple devices,” says Scotti.

2. Go mobile. To assist in streamlining e-book production across multiple devices, use a universal format like PDF or .epub. “Also, investing in robust XML allows for easy conversion to alternate formats, if necessary,” Scotti adds.

3. Offer a “critical mass” to reduce cost per unit and increase usage/value proposition. “Libraries often are looking to develop a ‘mass’ of titles in a certain subject area. … So offering a ‘critical mass’ of, [for example], biology titles is very attractive to [them]. This lowers cost per unit, and … ensures that the collection will be used. Large collections are indexed by search engines like Google, and listed in the library catalog. When a library gets a lot of usage on content from a single publisher, then there is perceived value and lower cost per use,” he says.

4. You buy it, you own it. Provide institutions perpetual access and ownership of the content they buy. This will make repeat business more attractive and lower total lifetime costs. “If you pay for the content in year one and have access and usage over time, every year the cost per use of that content goes down,” says Scotti.

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