Rebirth of Kirkus Reviews and new ownership; Kirkus immediately reinserts itself back into the marketing sphere of the publishing world. But something in the statements made by the new owner of Kirkus may have publishers looking at this development differently:
“With the growth of e-books and e-reading devices, no one can really see the future of publishing. But turmoil like this creates opportunities. At a time when even the definition of a book is changing, my love of books makes me want to be part of the solution for the book publishing industry.”
Now unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you have witnessed the transformation of the publishing industry from paper into electronic production. Besides this, there has been a flurry (flurry is an understatement) of marketing having to do with publishers developing digital products to complement their original paper, or in some cases, to be the paper’s successor.
But this is something totally new. Production of books and digital products are linked together by the code that is created electronically by copyeditors and production editors during the process. This is then converted often into XML, allowing the content to be repurposed into eBooks. Kirkus’ “bread and butter” has been the review of books before their release to the general public. That way, they get the wonderful little reviews on the back cover that so adequately describe the entire nature of a book in three short sentences. But if their focus will now expand to eBooks, that will involve an entirely new area of production, which has traditionally seen eBooks produced for either parallel release, or following the production of the book. The result is that Kirkus and other reviewers may want access to eBooks earlier in the production cycle in some form of a rough stage for their review, or a finalized eBook (or enhanced eBook depending on the review cycle) for their evaluation. This changes the nature of a workflow dramatically when you are used to having it be ready at the end of the production cycle.
It will be an interesting development to watch through the new phase of development of Kirkus, and also to see whether or not in the end its rebirth will be the catalyst for publishers integrating eBooks directly into the publishing production workflow.
Sales Manager, MPS North America