Digital Asset Distribution by Ingram.

AuthorGray, James
PositionIngram Book Group Inc.

Work Title: Digital Asset Distribution by Ingram

Work Author(s): James Gray


Byline: James Gray

Book distribution is, of course, more than just shipping carton quantities on pallets to bookstores and libraries. A visit to the highly-automated Ingram Book distribution center in LaVergne, Tennessee, would convince anyone that there is a huge challenge of logistics, warehouse management, and fulfillment in getting the right books to the right place within a few hours of an order being placed. But today, the nature of the book is rapidly changing---increasingly books are being printed, distributed, and provided to readers using new digital technologies and in new digital formats.

Current examples of "digital book" initiatives include:

Printing a book from a digital file and shipping it to a bookstore or a consumer on the same day the order was placed;Providing access to thousands of titles to college students online through their libraries;Downloading every student's four-year textbook curriculum to his or her laptop computer at enrollment;Streaming audiobooks to consumers over the Internet;Providing repositories to help publishers distribute digital content to multiple distribution partners in multiple formats. Ingram is active in all these areas---and will need to continually evolve as our diverse markets and partners continue to increase their wide-ranging demands.

Drivers of Change

All companies in publishing are facing similar challenges as they explore the new digital arena, and priorities include controlling costs, protecting current revenue streams, and finding new market opportunities.

The print book market is still robust, but the eBook wave is certainly rising. eBook revenues in areas such as science, technology, and medicine are starting to gain momentum. For one major publisher, eBook sales in 2003 were only one percent of total book revenue, but rose sharply to six percent by 2006. With the vast majority of journals now online, academic users are increasingly aware of digital media and are creating their own level of demand and expectation for eBooks (and affecting print purchase decisions in favor of e-content). Also, with major publishers now providing simultaneous "e" and "p" versions in some disciplines, eBook availability is increasing.

Additional challenges for publishers have come from the Internet and from improvements in searching techniques and technologies (information detail about the book), which have introduced...

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