From Publishing Perspectives:
If you’re a publisher entering or engaged in the ebook publishing market, what is the best option for getting your ebooks produced? If you go online for guidance, posing the question in an ebook production and publishing discussion group, you will hear about solutions that work, and then how those same solutions don’t work. How some professional conversion tools are a great DIY option, and how no conversion tool can possibly produce sufficient quality. You’ll hear that an ebook that adheres to the layout fidelity of the print edition is a failure as an ebook while others bemoan the loss of the story as ebooks devolve into games.
. . . .
I conducted an informal survey [about the best way of producing ebooks] of trade publishers to try to provide a little context and data for the discussion. Respondents to the survey included four of the Big Six (now Big Five) publishers as well as publishing arms of big media companies, numerous mid- and small-sized publishers. All respondents had published ebooks. Many had also published ebook apps.
. . . .
Approximately 41% of the responding publishers primarily outsource their ebook production to skilled services providers. However, with 45% of respondents reporting that that their business had moved from one that fully outsourced ebook production, a major trend in digital production strategies appears to be the move towards greater internal production of ebooks. That echoes the approach currently adopted by Open Road Integrated Media. Said Nicole Passage, Managing Editor of Open Road, “Prior to the past year, we outsourced almost all ebook conversion, but recently we’ve begun to adopt internal solutions, allowing us to increase both efficiency and control over results.”
. . . .
Of those publishers stating that their preference is to outsource, 90% indicated that getting required quality at a reasonable price was the main factor. Additionally the perception of 70% of those same publishers was that costs associated with internal production capabilities, including personnel resources and production tools, were too expensive.
Related to this is the concern that the production of ebook requires a skillset that traditionally has not existed within publishing houses. And although many publishers have invested in digital expertise, industry chatter indicates that the majority of publishers are seeking solutions that help manage the complexity of the ebook production process.
. . . .
Of those respondents who had moved to full or significant production in-house, all previously having outsourced such work, 100% stated that they were able to achieve greater efficiencies and net benefits by producing internally than they had seen from outsourcing, even factoring additional personnel overhead.
Of those internal producers, 71% also reported that they believed that outsourcing required a trade-off in terms of quality and turnaround. From the IDPF panel, Simon and Schuster’s Director of Digital Content Development, Samantha Cohen, explained that her organization had seen those same benefits as it has continued to increase its internal expertise and production capabilities. “Within our organization we are seeing a convergence of digital and print workflows. This integration means that we are ebook conscious throughout the entire process, right from manuscript. While we do have some specialists, and use different tools for different formats, the fact that the company is oriented towards the book, across all formats, means that resources collaborate and are more efficient. This has been achieved without requiring the addition of headcount”.
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives