The Well-Formed Document

Articles by publishing professionals

David Alan Rech

E-book First and Other Publishing Strategies

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

With the growing popularity of e-books, questionable profitability in print book development, changes in publicity, and new review methodologies, almost every publisher is considering a variety of strategies for book publishing.

Some publishers are developing e-books first. If the e-book sells well and seems to justify the cost of a print run, then they develop the print version. Others are developing selected books only as e-books. These books are created as either separate titles, elements of

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David Alan Rech

A New Game in Books?

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Right now, it looks like iPad and Kindle are leading the way in e-book tablet development. There are other platforms that have a lot of functionality, but none really seem to be players in this market. If, however, you examine the world of art and other developments in interactive technology, gaming technology seems to be gaining headway in the race to develop new ways to receive and enjoy various forms of media and entertainment. What if one of the gaming technologies emerges as the method by which

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David Alan Rech

Counting the Money

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

We are in the publishing business to produce books. The measure of our success is whether we are efficiently producing high-quality books that meet our customers’ demands. Money is the benefit that results from our efforts; it is not the product.

For many executives, money provides an objective measure for performance; it serves as the basis of how they are evaluated by their board, it is the yardstick for their decision making, and it is how they reward employees (i.e., the more profits you generate

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David Alan Rech

Dealing with Shapelessness

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Publishers often find themselves perplexed because they cannot put their finger on exactly what is wrong, though they know things are not right. This, cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken tells us, is evidence of what he calls the shapeless problem. The biggest problem facing organisations is their inability to define the problems they face.

Often their troubles actually result from a cumulation of many disparate small things, none of which in itself could bring an organization to a standstill

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David Alan Rech

Must Publishers’ Roles Be Diminished?

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

On October 16, 2011, another headline appeared about authors bypassing traditional publishers.* It seems that publishers are becoming redundant. Obsolescence is always a threat.

Somehow, with the apparent change in the publishing world, we have lost confidence in what we do. We have abdicated our roles to those outside our organization: technology developers, literary agents, and even booksellers. Instead of understanding technology and the role we can play in crafting better books, we have dug

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David Alan Rech

Proofing and Quality: Part 2

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

Proofing and quality assurance are two distinct tasks, as we discussed previously, and we capitalize on their value through feedback. We’d like to share some things we have developed to improve the quality of our work.

Carefully vetting a project and executing a project launch are helpful. Vetting is a close examination of a project’s source materials and task list against specifications established for the project. In a project launch, we meet to inform each person involved in the project about

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David Alan Rech

Proofing and Quality: Part 1

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

The editorial stage of publishing production includes two steps designed to find and fix errors: copyediting and proofing. Historically, proofing meant reading typeset pages against an approved manuscript to find discrepancies between the two; nowadays, proofreaders read the proof pages without literally checking them against the manuscript. Whichever way one does proofing, there are flaws in the process, which raises the issue of quality.

Quality assurance and quality control are two parts of a

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David Alan Rech

Lessons from Allentown: Single-Skilled Staff

By David Alan Rech of Scribe Inc.

When considering the training and work assignments of employees, a tension exists between specialisation and generalisation. On one hand, it is clear that having well-rounded staff members improves publications. On the other hand, a person who specialises in one thing tends to be fast at the tasks she undertakes.

Given the price pressure in this economy, it may seem best to have your staff engaged in single tasks that each person performs quickly. Since 2004, Scribe has been gathering data on internal

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