Untangling and understanding the ebook supply chain
Peter Balis, John Wiley and Sons; Niel Del Young, Hachette Book Group; Leslie Hulse, Harper Collins; Andrew Weinstein, Ingram Digital; Mark Coker, Smashwords
Ingram: in ebook supply chain a lot of posturing going on and in a gawky stage. Roles are still shaking out. Still a role for wholesaler in the supply chain. They provide multi-publisher aggregating platform for retailers. They keep track of all the retailers selling the publishers’ books. For majority of US publishers, enforcing territories by the billing address of the purchaser seems to be becoming the standard. Adobe platform is something to watch for 2010 – they are trying to foster innovation. No shortage of 4 color ebooks out there, but since Amazon/Kindle dominates the conversation this means that most people don’t even know about them.
Wiley: understand how supply chain operates, but don’t have a standard operating procedure for digital, but upstream and downstream. Basic formats are PDF and Epub. One reason that ebooks may not have cover is that the publisher could not get the digital rights to the image. Especially true of older books. Wiley can’t afford to deal with small retail accounts and an aggregator makes sense for them. No good way to audit sales make by retailers. Majority of titles they see are not hacked ebooks, they are primarily manuscripts, galleys and scanned paper books. Blio/Microsoft should be watched in 2010.
Harper: had to do a big effort to get the digital rights and establish the royalties for digital. Many times had the digital rights but no royalties were established. Need wider adoption and implementation of Onix. Incomplete integration with Onix is hurting ability to get ebooks distributed. Is a need for an independent auditing body for digital sales. Dark horse for 2010 is Blio/Microsoft.
Hachette: just because we go to Epub doesn’t mean that all the people downstream in the chain can take the file and so delayed implementation until could make this work. Hachette currently restricts ebook sales to US because territories can change daily and hard to flow this info out to supply chain. Also hard to track supply chain to see if proper territorial information has been transmitted down the chain and complied with. Blio/Microsoft should be watched in 2010.