Frankfurt Book Fair 2009

It is again approaching that time of the year where we start heading into Frankfurt Book Fair. So, if you would like to set up some time to meet and review our publishing software in person then drop us a line at hello@onixcentral.com and we can organise for you. In the alternative we will be at stand A937 in Hall 8 for the duration so just try and catch us.

If in the meantime, you would like to learn more about Onix Central and our software for managing the title information and the publishing process the visit the website at Onix Central.Com.


Filed under: Onix, Onix Central, Publishing, ,

A little on Onix Central

If you have a requirement to become Onix compliant and you need a database that won't break the bank, or if you need your website to be fed from your Onix feed, or if you just really wish that the same file you send to Bowker could generate your catalogue... then this is where you need to be.

My colleague Emma has written a post over on the Snowbooks blog on our new Onix Central project. So, if you’re interested in making more of your title information for feeding your website; creating catalogues etc etc. then go have a look and we also have a lot of free stuff to help you do a lot of these things for your self.

Filed under: Onix, Onix Central, Publishing, , , ,

New Onix Code list issued

Onix Code List 8 is available for download from the Editeur website. I haven’t had a chance to look through the change list in any detail yet so will save any comments for the next day or so.

Filed under: Onix, Publishing,

London Book Fair Supply Chain presentations

Supply Chain Seminar room before obviously the meeting started (and yet again apologies for rubbish camera phone image). Anyway, all the presentations should be up and available for download (including mine of course) from the BIC website in the next few days.

Filed under: Onix, Publishing, , ,

Bookseller supply chain article

If you are interested in such things this is an article from the Bookseller in the UK about supply chain software to which I supplied a couple of quotes a few weeks ago as well as Catriona from our fantastic clients Edinburgh University Press.

Essentially, everyone is saying much the same thing. Publishers have to approach this stuff seriously and if they do they are great benefits to be derived. But, it is hard to implement something that may touch every area of your business and run that business at the same time (i.e get books out of the door for instance). So anyway, if you would like to download the article click the link below.

Supply chain article

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

Uk publishing and Onix – Part whatever x 2

This is from December 2005 – is it any less true now than it was then? What on earth have we all been doing?

If you would like to learn more about Onix then just go to our website.

Filed under: Onix, Onix Central, Publishing

UK Onix and Nielsen – part whatever

We have been in the midst of helping one of our medium sized UK publishers step up to the Onix plate. To this end we have been helping them with the feedback they have received from Nielsen Bookdata. The majority of which they found completely incomprehensible.

This ties back to a point I have been repeatedly making over recent times (see here and here oh and even here for example) that the powers that be (BIC; Nielsen et al) if they really want to see widespread adoption of the Onix standard need to get themselves a new approach.

Our medium sized UK publisher has now been told that rather than send Onix they may just fill in some forms and email them along. Flying as far as I understand directly in the face of the e4books project espoused aims of Onix compliance and single points of entry for information such as title information.

If the principal recipient (and sender) of bibliographic information isn’t standing four square behind the standard then what hope for the rest of us?

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

Onix in the UK

I occasionally get asked by Nielsen Bookdata in the UK how our UK clients are getting along with the Onix standard as they would like more of them to be submitting files to them.

As anyone who knows me or indeed reads this blog I really believe in the importance of getting complete and timely title information into the publishing supply chain. I spend a great deal of my own time and money trying to help as many (particularly smaller) publishers as I can. I give up days to help sort out their data; travel to all kinds of places to give seminars; give away free software etc etc.  I’m not sure short of actually doing it for them I can do more.

But still only a relatively small amount of publishers of ours who could generate Onix actually do so. And, as anyone who has used our products can testify we really can’t make it any easier. Simply, fill in the relevant fields and click a button that says ‘Create Onix’. I mean seriously what more can we do? By the way if you don’t believe me just go to our website and download for yourself.

So, why don’t they? And what should I say in my response to Nielsen’s latest enquiry received yesterday? Well, the truth is things have changed a little. At least now they have some inkling of what Onix actually is and a vague understanding that they should be doing it. But, further than that I couldn’t say that they have much interest.

At the moment, in the UK we have probably half a dozen or so publishers currently installing our software. Their reasons for installing range from a requirement to have a scheduling tool or somewhere to hold their rights information or more commonly simply to have all their publishing information in one place.

In short, they just don’t care enough to put it to the top of their list of priorities.

So what can change this? I assume that Nielsen; Bowker et al are keen on this because it will in the longer term make their life easier and save them some money in re keying and other costs. If this is the case (i.e that there is some tangible benefit for them) then there should be some clearly identifiable gain for the publisher. Nowhere on the Nielsen; BIC or e4books websites are what the publishers get out of all the hassle of sorting out sometimes 20 years of conflicting title information clearly articulated. And since both Nielsen and Bowker still accept title information in just about any form (ranging from photocopied AIs to Excel spreadsheets) why bother going through the nightmare of trying to conform?

Both these organisations have thus far failed to produce clear documentation about what they actually want or even to publicise the documentation they do have. I spoke to four UK publishers yesterday on this very issue and they didn’t even know Nielsen had a Word document containing their criteria.

So, the leap for publishers is from providing photocopied AIs stuffed in an envelope to producing an XML document with many times the number of fields they would normally provide and on top of that sometimes formatted and using terminology that is quite frankly alien to their business. And even if they do manage to do this and submit a file they get a list of feedback which generally serves to confuse and tells them they have send a telephone number in the wrong form (eg, +44 instead of 0044). They throw their hands up in the air and try and get on with the business of getting books out of the door and vow to revisit the issue when they have more time.

What to do?

1) First of all motivate the publisher by giving them some sort of tangible benefit to which they can relate. For example, if you don’t do this your title information will enter the supply chain 3 months later than everyone else; charge them for not doing it to reflect your re keying and other costs; demonstrate the real increases in sales they could see from getting their title information into the supply chain in a more complete manner. Anyway, you get the idea. Perhaps a UK equivalent of the BISG annual ‘Making Information Pay’ event with some suitably scary stats (i.e include a cover image and you are 70% more likely to sell your book).

2) Just make it easier to understand. For all the time and money BIC have spent on this they still have no real practical help for publishers to step up to the plate. The documentation produced by us and Snowbooks for free is of more use in de mystifying the whole process. So, come on BIC produce some step by step guides; maybe some short video; even a podcast. Oh, and talk about time and costs – please.

3) Perhaps, it is just too much of a leap. So, maybe have a half way stage? A little like the excellent Booknet Canada started by first getting all the publishers to submit their title information using a basic spreadsheet with a core group of field and then worked up from there. Or maybe an Onix Lite as an interim step. Dunno, just a thought.

4) Publishers themselves must put more effort in to try and get their title information together in some electronic form and to learn a little about the standard. I realise this is hard when resource is often so scarce but this title information is having to be keyed in somewhere (eg, Quark AIs; Word documents etc etc.).

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

Nielsen updates Onix guidelines

Nielsen Onix Guidelines

Click the link above to download the latest Nielsen Bookdata Onix guidelines. I haven’t had the opportunity to go through in any detail as yet but will comment on the differences in the next day or so.

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

The same Onix issues

 Industrial Press

Spent part of the day yesterday at Industrial Press here in Manhattan. They have been a client for a good few years and are getting to grips with their title information as they now have a requirement to send Onix to their trading partners. A lot of the same issues came up about how difficult it is to (in a matter of a few weeks) deal with decades of title information and just how confusing the advice is from the trading partners such as Barnes & Noble et al.

Surely, it is in the interests of the recipients of Onix files to try and make their requirements as clear and consistent as possible. A relatively simple task you would have thought ?

Also, and this is a fairly consistent complaint that I hear – it would great if some of these trading partners could reply to queries in a more timely manner with many of the emails that get forwarded to me having taken anything up to a couple of months to recieve a reply.

Filed under: Onix, Publishing

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