Scribe’s Profile

Scribe is a mission-driven organization solely focused on editorial and production processes.

Scribe’s Mission

Scribe’s mission is to produce high-fidelity, long-lasting, and accessible well-formed documents. We strive to

  • advance well-formed documents throughout the publishing industry;
  • connect the concept of the well-formed document to all editorial and production processes;
  • create tools and technologies that intuitively result in well-formed documents; and
  • partner with our clients to publish well-formed documents in a timely and fiscally responsible manner.

Scribe’s Profile

Scribe’s mission (to produce high-fidelity, long-lasting, and accessible well-formed documents) results in our ability to contribute to the success of our clients. Scribe is a publishing services company focused on producing books for mission-driven organizations. Founded in 1993, Scribe’s early work concentrated on creating and distributing electronic versions of existing print publications. Thus we have been geared since our inception to an all-electronic workflow that enables multipurpose outputs. In 2000, Scribe expanded to a full range of editorial, production, and workflow services. In 2013, we made our Digital Hub available to subscribers. Since 2015 we have added customized print and distribution capacities. Scribe’s industry-leading Well-Formed Document Workflow is the product of continuous methodological and technological development, ensuring that publishers reach their audience in every available format.

Scribe believes publishing to be a craft, and we are driven by the traditional functions of publishing: to build community, reach an expanding readership, and further an organization’s mission. Our services are predicated on the notion that publishing is about the exchange of ideas, experiences, and knowledge. We help connect the works of authors to the readers of those works so that each publication speaks in the voice of the author to a receptive and responsive audience.

Scribe’s highly trained staff consists of all full-time employees working out of US-based offices. Scribe produces more than a thousand titles each year, with an annual output growth averaging 20 percent. From our locations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Scribe serves more than one hundred clients.

Company History

1993—Scribe began as Center for Computer Analysis of Texts, Text Distributors. From our inception, we developed publications in electronic format and accurate OCR and data conversion processes. Our first publications were distributed on disk and CD-ROM format.

1995—Scribe began to convert publications from word processors and desktop publishing systems for electronic publication. This was our first foray into understanding and manipulating the underlying coding of documents. We developed programs and scripts to facilitate conversions. These become the foundation for our future programming.

1996—Scribe started to publish books, magazines, and journals on the web. We combined our knowledge of technology and publications to develop online subscriptions, e-commerce, and databases.

1997—Scribe kicked off our typesetting services. In order to remain competitive and facilitate electronic publications, Scribe developed a methodology to convert source files (usually Word or Word Perfect) into structured files that were coded to work in desktop publishing programs.

1998—Scribe first publicly touted our multipurpose philosophy. Our philosophy has remained the same: publish in a consistent and efficient manner to as many versions, or distribution channels, as possible.

1999—Scribe processes were formalized as the Scribe Publishing System (now called the Well-Formed Document Workflow) to enable publications to move easily from copyediting to typesetting, then back out to a marked up file. This process helped Scribe produce publications for print and electronic delivery.

2000—At Oxford Brookes University, Scribe offered the concept of the well-formed document as an intuitive, easy-to-implement alternative to confusing angle bracket–delineated coding.

2000—Scribe began to offer copyediting and proofreading services. With the addition of staff members and our training methodology, that offering has expanded into a full range of editorial and publications development activities.

2004—In a failed attempt to partner with an Indian vendor, Scribe developed the ability to export our workflow, training, and process management capabilities. We renamed our publishing system the Well-Formed Document Workflow.

2006—Scribe successfully opened our Florida office. This success allowed Scribe to cut costs and therefore compete economically with offshore vendors. Scribe now competes on the unparalleled quality of our work.

2007—E-books began to show profitability. Publishers realized the need to engage in multipurpose publishing and began to reject a one-off approach. Scribe’s workflow, philosophy, and cost savings began to get attention.

2009—Thomas Nelson’s DigiReady initiative, which utilizes Scribe’s Well-Formed Document Workflow, was released.

2010—The popularity of the Kindle and the release of the iPad made publishers realize the need for well-formed documents. Demand for Scribe’s services and workflow continued to increase.

2011—Scribe opened an office in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to meet increased demand for our multipurpose publishing services.

2011—Random House subscribed to the Well-Formed Document Workflow (later our workflow would be instrumental in the production of their most successful publication).

2013—Scribe released our Digital Hub and Scribe Add-In (SAI), helping to automate the Well-Formed Document Workflow. Scribe has been, and continues to be, very active in the research and proper implementation of new technology. Our goal is to assist you with your current needs and enable you to publish efficiently well into the future.

2014—Our Well-Formed Document Version 2.0 was released, offering full-print articulation, round-trip functionality (print to Word), automated e-book indexing, the SAI Lite, and InDesign plug-ins.

2014—Recognizing the changing landscape in publishing, Scribe announced initiatives to better serve the market, including strategic partnerships with printers and distributors. Scribe also offers the WFDW “white label” to those offering direct-to-author services.

2015—Scribe and Lifeway partnered to help publishers produce, convert, and distribute their publications. This partnership has helped increase revenues for institutional and individual book sales.

2016—Seeing renewed growth and success in the publishing world, Scribe began to shift our emphasis toward mission-driven publishing. We also added features to the WFDW to improve indexing (thus semantic tagging) and accessibility.

2017—Scribe expanded our services to include full “back office” support for publishing programs. We formed a partnership with the Open Textbook Network to offer full support to their members. Twelve additional organizations subscribed to the Well-Formed Document Workflow. This reflects the developing success of our mission-driven approach to publishing.

2018—We focused on accessibility. This meant expanding the accessibility features in our Digital Hub so that all ePubs produced by Scribe offer a full range of accessibility options. In addition, we began a program to improve the editorial and production processes so that publications are born accessible. This includes embedded indexes, easier alternative text management, and better design.

2019—We began 2019 with a goal of making our workflow easier to access for our clients. The plan was to transition to video training, improve our documentation, and change the user experience of our tools so that the WFDW could be used without requiring in-person training. By the end of 2019, we had achieved our goal. We even launched a YouTube channel that offers training videos. The importance of that strategy would become apparent in the following year.

2020—Scribe’s workflow and processes enabled our clients to move seamlessly to remote office situations. Scribe experienced no downtime or delays after we closed our office for remote work. In fact, we were able to assist many of our clients in addressing various logistical situations that they faced.

2021—Scribe developed our ScML2PDF (to be released in January 2022). ScML2PDF enables print-ready files to be produced in minutes, eliminating the need for time-consuming desktop publishing. This process generates books of superior typographic quality and cuts production time significantly, allowing subscribers to get their titles to print faster and at a lower cost. We believe this will revolutionize the publishing process, focusing on the essential aspects of books and unifying the creation of both print and digital outputs.

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