The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals

David Alan Rech

Sub Subsidiary Rights

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

By definition, subsidiary rights are a mystery. We have no sure way to predict revenue generated through the various streams that account for the backlist life of a publication, so any revenue that is generated from subsidiary rights is often excluded from a book’s profit and loss accounting and is rarely a consideration when producing a book.

Though I would argue that the accounting methodology employed in this consideration is outdated and that the reasons behind it (along with all the tax implications

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David Alan Rech

Readers Defined

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Every historic instance of growth in the publishing industry can be connected to the increase of readers within a given population. In medieval Europe, it wasn’t the printing press per se1 that increased literacy; it was a change in social and religious structure. In eighteenth-century England, it was the Industrial Revolution and the accompanying shift in wealth (not to mention the British’s imperial reach) that led to increased readership. And the great boom in US book consumption can be directly

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David Alan Rech

We’re Back—Scribe’s Newsletter Revival

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

At the beginning of 2016, Scribe decided to phase out our monthly newsletter. Our message was no longer resonating among our subscribers, and we realized we were no longer offering any new ideas to improve editorial and production processes. By the end of its run, we considered the newsletter to be ineffective and unhelpful.

The newsletter’s failure became evident in 2015. There was a stronger trend in publishing that was contrary to the message we were trying to get across. In addition to the instability

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Michael Maher

How to Get the Most Out of OCR

By Michael Maher of Scribe Inc.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is the process of taking an image of text and making it “machine readable” or “live.” The software views (or reads) the image (Optical), scans for text (Characters), and then recognizes the relevant characters and outputs them as live text (Recognition). This process has been around for a few decades, but it still is very much a work in progress.

While the quality of current OCR software (and the concept of OCR itself, if we are being honest here) is nothing short

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David Alan Rech

E Is Dead, Long Live E!

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Last year, the AAP (Association of American Publishers) reported a decline in e-book sales. This led many in the industry to claim the restoration of print’s primacy and assert that e-books were just a passing phase. Printers, editors, production staff, and others refocused their attention back on print—it was easy to fall back on familiar habits. But no matter how hard one fights it, the process of creating books is electronic. To go back to the old ways ignores the reality of the publishing process

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David Alan Rech

Redefining Accessibility to Help Save Publishing

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

I have the honor of being on the National Task Force on Accessible Materials Innovation that is part of the Center for Accessible Materials Innovation (CAMI, http://cami.gatech.edu/). Ostensibly, we are charged with aiding in the success of students with disabilities. The hope, of course, is that we can develop standards and methods to make books more accessible to students with print-related disabilities. The task force is comprised of talented professionals who bring a number of perspectives to

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David Alan Rech

Corrections: Typesetters’ Dirty Little Secret

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

We have a secret to tell you. Take a look at your typesetter’s bill. Do you notice how expensive the corrections charges are? In Scribe’s experience, the amount charged for corrections is often substantial and can represent up to 50 percent of the total bill from your typesetter. More than one of our competitors has remarked that they were sure of continued business because publishers couldn’t cure themselves of corrections. This has been kept a secret because it adds to revenue, but corrections

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Mark Fretz

Preparing for an Electronic Dark Age

By Mark Fretz of Scribe Inc.

Vint Cerf, universally recognized as an American Internet pioneer, recently warned of a potential digital Dark Age. Underlying this specter is the issue of accessibility, or digital storage and retrieval, defined in technological terms rather than in terms of human functionality. The Dark Age he has in mind pertains to having all sorts of content stored somewhere but being unable to access it (i.e., to open and manipulate content saved in files or stored on servers or computers). Although Cerf is

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